Lucky for us in Golden, Colorado – the bike commuting and racing season isn’t over yet! While the off season may be underway, this is the perfect time of year for commuters and athletes to start bike maintenance preparation for the winter months. Winter riding poses many threats so having a bike in good working order keeps you safe, warmer, and the opportunity for a more enjoyable ride.
For some, bike maintenance can be a chore, but having the right set of bike components and tools can make all the difference. When prepping your bike for for the winter, there are several things you want to do to keep it in good working order for the winter months.
- Wipe down and inspect the frame – Rain, snow, ice, and road elements pose different cleaning challenges to your frame and bicycle parts. Consider using a stiff, soft-bristled brush to knock off any chunks of dried-on mud that may be on your frame or wheels. Then, follow that up by taking a rag to your bike, wiping it down generally all over to get off any remaining dust or dirt.
- Lube your chain and cables. As unglamorous as chain lube is, it is a necessity for winter riding. It will keep your bike parts in working order and squeak free! There are many lubes to choose – wet vs dry lube. As conditions vary, you may want to have a couple of different choices on hand.
- Inspect tires, wheels, and brake pads – Check that there is adequate air pressure in the tires. Check that there aren’t any cuts or nicks in the sidewall or tread of the tires. You’ll want to make sure the brake pads are not worn. And, remember to inspect where the brake pads hit the rim; they should contact the rim evenly on both sides and not rub the tire in any way that may cause a flat.
Granted, there are as many pre-ride bike checks and maintenance programs to follow. Regardless of which ones you do, keep in mind building your collection of maintenance tool kits and bike components can be a great way of engaging in your cycling passion during the off season.