Protecting Your Bike
If you don’t plan on riding during the winter, or if you plan on only riding infrequently, be sure to remove lights, water bottles and GPS cycling computers, particularly if the bike will be kept in a shared storage area or cold garage. Clean your water bottles and let them dry completely before storing them so that old water, debris, or energy powder mix don’t convert into mold and bacteria. To help prevent rust and corrosion, make sure your chain is lubricated with bicycle-specific lube or wax.
Jeff Underwood, founder of Continuum Cycles and CC Cyclery in the East Village, suggested scheduling an annual tuneup before storing your bike for the winter. “Not only will this put you ahead of the majority of riders who have to deal with the long wait times in the spring, this also helps out your smaller neighborhood bike shop by giving them business in the off-season.”
If you choose not to get a tuneup, or if your bike just doesn’t need one yet, Mr. Underwood said to make sure the chain was lubricated correctly and that there was proper pressure in the tires before storing the bike. “When air slowly releases over time,” he said, “the weight of the bicycle can cause the tires to become misshapen.”
For cyclists who do expect to ride in the winter, Anna Maria Wolf, the owner of Sun and Air and King Kog bike shops in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, also suggested getting a bike tuneup to avoid any mechanical issues when it’s cold and dark and you’re away from home.
“Be sure to wash the salt and sand off your drivetrain (the chain ring, chain, cassette (gears), and derailleur) after riding, then re-lubricate the parts to keep them in good shape.”
She advised putting old newspapers down in your hallway when cleaning your bike. Old newspapers or flattened cardboard boxes are also great at collecting any dirty water or grease that may drip down off your bike after riding in the rain or snow.
Riding in Winter
When I first began riding, I never imagined riding during the winter. As the weather gradually got colder, however, my body adjusted to it and I learned which clothes to wear at different temperatures. Come January, I even asked my local bike shop to swap out my skinny tires for rugged tires suitable for riding in the snow. As the adage goes, there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear.