Many things change when winter sets in. Unfortunately, this includes the amount of time we spend on our bikes. For many people, the beginning of winter means preparing to store our bikes away until the ice melts. Bikes, like the people who ride them, don’t like to sit outside doing nothing in the cold weather. It’s important to store them correctly. If not, rust and other wear can wear down your bike while you wait.
Taking the time to follow these simple steps can help assure that your bike stays in top condition while it rests for the winter:
Remove and wash out water bottles or Camelbaks
- Letting water bottles sit unused for long periods of time can cause unhealthy buildup, and the same goes for Camelbaks and other water bladders. Since they likely won’t be used for a while, take the time to give them a nice rinse. Then store them somewhere dry and indoors until you need them again.
Inspect and Wipe Down the Frame
- It’s important to know exactly what shape your bike is in before you store it. This way, it’s easier to notice if anything happened while it sat stationary for a few months. Look for cracks or signs of stress on the frame, which could worsen during storage. Check over your whole bike and all of its components, from the spokes to the brake pads.
- Wipe down the frame of your bike using as little water as possible, to avoid contributing to rust buildup. Wiping down your tires, seat, and handlebars is also a good idea. On the frame, use rags and soft brushes to knock off dirt and dust, and look for grimy spots that need a good cleaning.
Inflate tires and lubricate the chain and cables
- Leaving your bike to stand on flat tires for the whole winter can damage the rubber of the tires and negatively affect your riding once you start again. To avoid this problem, make sure your tires are fully inflated before storing your bike and check them occasionally throughout the winter. Another trick to get around this problem is by storing your bike by hanging it in order to take the pressure off of the tires.
- Just a little lubricant applied to the chain and cables of your bike can help protect them through the winter and provide a better ride once the spring rolls around.
Get a tune-up
- Getting your bike a full tune-up before you store it isn’t absolutely essential, but it can be very helpful. When the weather turns friendly again, you’ll be able to just pull the bike out and ride with little issue, instead of having to fight with all of the other cyclists at your local bike shop trying to get back on the road.
Once you’ve prepared your bike for winter storage, the only question that remains is how you want to store it. It is best not to store your bike standing upright on concrete, as this can damage your tires. If you need to store it upright, put something like a rug under the wheels. No matter how you decide to store your bike—hanging on the wall or from the ceiling or in a rack—remember to keep it in a safe, secure location protected from the winter weather.
With all of this in mind, you are ready to store your bike for the winter.