Photo Credits: Dylan VanWeelden
Is there really such a thing as “winterizing” your bike? I’m not talking about fenders and fat tires, but about servicing your bike to survive the cold season. In my opinion, winter is a great opportunity to take care of your favorite toy. At Adventure Seekers we provide a number of services, one of which is mobile bike care and repair. The question of winterizing your bike is typically asked of us during events that occur in the fall. My response varies according to the rider’s habits and climate, but I’ve figured out that most riders fit into one of three categories:
If you live in a snowy climate, you may choose to trade in your wheels for skis or a snowboard. If you put your bike away for the winter, my number one recommendation is to prep your bike now for your first ride in the spring. Make an appointment at your local bike shop and have them go through a couple specific items. The goal here is to make sure that any part of your bike that will wear – brake pads, tires, chains, cassettes, and chainrings – gets checked and replaced if needed. Other items typically need maintenance at least once a year, so it’s a good idea to have them serviced regardless. These items include suspension service, brake bleeds, and service all your pivots and bearings. If you invest the money into these items every year before you put your bike into storage, you are guaranteeing several things: first, that your bike is ready to ride as soon as the weather is right; and second, your bike will last longer and ride better. Let’s not kid around, these toys are starting to get expensive, so take the time and the money to keep them running smooth for years and years.
Some cyclists continue to ride their bikes during the winter season, just not outside. Typically this means you are riding your bike on an indoor trainer. Just like earlier; before you lock that bike down to your trainer this is a great opportunity to make sure everything is in good functioning shape. The main items of concern (depending on what type of trainer you use) are rear tire, chain, cassette, chainring, and bottom bracket. If you are someone that will train indoors every year it might be a smart decision to purchase an indoor trainer specific rear tire, as well as a spare chain and cassette, preferably ones that are less expensive so you can save the nice stuff for the road or trail.
Finally, if you are someone lucky enough to live in a climate that allows you to ride year–round: this is still a great opportunity to check up on your bike. After a long summer and fall season, your bike will likely need a little TLC. Take a recovery week and let your local bike shop do a once over. Replace the items that are worn – brake pads, chains, etc. – and make sure that all the other moving parts of your bike – suspension, brakes, pivots, bearings – are in good shape as well. Your bike does a lot for you, so take the time to give it some love. Then you can both be happy through the entire winter season. I recommend this type of service to year-round riders about every once 6 month,depending on how much you ride.
Generally speaking, when you are getting your bike ready to sit, hang, or lay in one spot for a long time there are a couple easy precautions that will keep your wallet and bike in good shape. Make sure your chain is lubed. A dry chain, when introduced to humidity in your home, can begin to rust. Lubing your chain several times throughout winter will help keep this from happening. It is a bit of a wives’ tale that hanging your bike upside down is bad for your suspension, but it is a good habit to try and cycle your suspension at least once a week. Just go say hello to your bike, let it know that you still care about it, squeeze the brakes, spin the tires, push the fork and shock up and down. This will help keep grease where it should be and your suspension seals from drying out.
Now you’re ready for winter! Invest the time and resources into your bike with annual checkups and it will be smooth sailing for years to come.
Winterize your Kitsbow