So, for some of us whose biking season is over till the next spring (because it is already snowing outside…. sigh) there are a few things you (and I) need to do to make sure our favorite bicycles are as pretty and as functional next spring, as they are today. As a mom I have way too much on my plate between work, home, kids, and everything else that comes along – things like bicycle maintenance just doesn’t get the priority. Thankfully, my husband loves our bikes as much as I do and he doesn’t mind sharing a few things we all need to do for the love of bicycle riding.
Moisture is bicycle’s greatest enemy. Although this day and age there are tons of bikes with frames made of aluminum or other non or less corrosive materials there are still plenty of components on your bike that could be damaged by corrosion. The one simple thing you can do to prevent it is to lube those. I’m talking about bike’s drivetrain – chain, sprockets, shifters, and tensioners. If you have access to gear oil – that is great! Otherwise just use motor oil. When lubricating drivetrain of a bike, your goal is to cover metal so it wouldn’t have direct access to moisture. You don’t have to dip the whole bike in motor oil, but do make sure you create a thick enough film of oil on the surface of the part you’re lubricating. In the spring before taking your two-wheeled friend on the road, do pre-season maintenance and tune up by getting it all cleaned up and properly lubed.
Another item on the list is your tires. From my husband’s motorcycle experience we have learned an interesting (not really) thing about tires – they don’t like sitting on the cold concrete of your garage floor through the winter. That’s why in the winter we keep the bike on stands with tires up in the air.
Rubber that tires are made of will age and dry rot (think of million tiny cracks you see on old tires) a lot quicker right around those spots that have direct contact with cold concrete. The bottom line is: if you have a way of hanging your bicycle up on a rack of some sort DO SO! Otherwise you can use something like a folded cardboard box, rug or a thick piece of carpet between the tires and the floor. It works like magic!
Though ideally you’d like to keep your bike in somewhat climate controlled environment, but if you (like us) don’t have that option, please take some time to plan your winter storage and you will be happy in the spring you did so.