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I often hear the words "It's just a bike!", meaning that the level of care required can be less than that for other items.

 

This phrase has always set off alarm bells for me, as the people who say it obviously don't ride or have a passion for cycling.

It's not a plane they say, why do you need to do Ultrasound scans and other methods that the aerospace industry use?

 

Well for me the answer is simple, I ride, and I would like to continue to ride for many more years to come, without the avoidable risk of my bike failing.

The technology used in bikes these days has far more in common with aerospace than other modes of transport, utilising advanced composites and alloys, fly by wire and data acquisition. In fact bicycles and aircraft have always been linked.

The Wright brothers were bicycle engineers before they did their epic first flight over 100 years ago. There has always been a connection between cycling and flying.

Fig 1. Photo of the Wright Brothers Workshop.

 

Torque wrenches have replaced shifting spanners and hammers, these bikes cannot be treated like farm tractors, they are performance machines.

As such they need to be cared for to maintain performance and ensure safety, just like an aircraft. Boeing or Airbus are not going to replace their Ultrasound scanners with someone who just looks at the part and says "it should be ok", and neither should you.

 

Riding a damaged bike may not have the consequences for as many people if it fails, but it will have a major consequence on you the rider and maybe also on family and friends around you. At best a failure reduces the raw pleasure of getting out to ride your bike, which is what it is all about.

 

Bikes are not planes, that is true, but they have much in common and that is the reason to use the best technology and methods available.