10 Bike-Care Tips for Winter Riding
The team—all avid year-round cyclists—have the tips and tricks to rid your bike of mud, grit and de-icing residue without spending a lot of time or money. And best of all, most of these tips will help you during the fair weather months too.
Get a Tune-Up1 of 11
If you hate riding in cold weather and want to hang up the bike until next spring, get a full tune-up first. Winter is a slow time for most bike shops and it's easier for the maintenance team to get your bike serviced. If you wait until spring when the first sunny day arrives, you'll be waiting in line with everyone else. If your tires have multiple cuts and your rear tire has a distinct flat surface, rather than round, replace your tires too. (Andy Yount and Howard Swartz shown in the photo.)
Clean Your Bike2 of 11
If you live in a state that uses de-icing chemicals on the road, it can leave deposits on your frame, wheels and components. These chemicals will eat into the clear coat paint on the frame and will cause trouble in places where the paint has chipped. These chemicals are corrosive to your drive train too, and repairs will be costly. You'll be better served to clean your bike after every ride—and it won't take more than 10 minutes.
Get the Right Supplies3 of 11
All you'll need is a bucket and a few supplies to clean your bike properly. A degreasing soap (the shop uses Dawn dish soap), a soft brush or sponge for the frame and a stiffer brush for the drive train are the essentials. You can also use a biodegradable citrus spray on the drive train if it's really mucky. Several spray options are available at your local hardware store or bike shop.
Use a Rubber Mat4 of 11
The bucket used to store your cleaning supplies is also the soapy water bucket. If you have a special space for bike cleaning, consider installing a rubber mat to reduce slips and falls.
Always Rinse Your Bike5 of 11
Before brushing or rubbing your frame, rinse it off with a spray of plain water to remove as much dirt and grime as possible. If you wipe your frame dry while it's still dirty, you'll scratch the clear coat paint.
Spray With Low Pressure6 of 11
When using pressurized water on your bike, be sure to use a low-pressure spray setting. Don't use a high-pressure stream blast (as shown in photo). High-pressure water forces its way into seals and bearings, which you'll cause necessary repairs down the road.
Get a Gallon Sprayer7 of 11
In some locations it's a hassle to hook up a hose for a winter bike-washing job. One option is to use a gallon size sprayer from your local hardware store. Fill the sprayer with warm water rather than using a hose and nozzle. It can make bike-cleaning job much easier, and the warm water will help to get rid of the road grime that's everywhere during the winter.
Use a Soft Scrub Brush8 of 11
After the major crud is washed off, use a soft brush or sponge dipped in soapy water to remove dirt and chemical residue. Generously dip the brush in soapy water multiple times during the scrubbing process. If your drive train is extra greasy and dirty, use a stiffer brush to remove built up chain lube. Repeat the rinsing step shown in slide five.
Drying Your Bike9 of 11
Washing your bike immediately after a ride is good because you're already in dirty clothes. After you've emptied the bucket, rinsed your washing tools, and changed out of your dirty cycling clothes, the bike should be air dried. Be sure the chain is dry and add a light coat of lubrication if needed.
Bike Lust10 of 11
If you want to add that final touch to the frame, the shop recommends a professional product like Bike Lust. This, and similar products, protect against UV damage, dirt and water.