Winter is coming in most parts of the country. But even though it is winter does not mean that you have to give up riding your bike. 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 provides the opportunity for a more enjoyable ride. Besides, a good ride always does the body and mind good! The trick to making winter riding work for you is to winterize your bike. 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.
- Invest in fenders! You’ll love them because the fight off salt, sand, and oil-laden road spray. By installing full fenders, you will keep crud off clothing and grit from getting into—and wearing out—most components. And you!
- Keep the rubber side down! Slick surfaces and crashes are fun – said no one- ever! Do yourself a favor and invest in new tires. New tires will be easier to control on icy roads and slushy trails. We have a huge selection of mountain bike and road bike tires online at BikeParts.com and also in our Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop. Stop by to hand select the best tires for you.
- Wipe your bike down. Combat corrosion and griminess due to salt and dirt by wiping down your frame after each ride. This is especially important for wet bikes. 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. You’ll want to make a point to clean your bike chain weekly.
- Safety First! Be seen and be safe. Winter riding involves riding in grey days! Of course, visibility is critical. Outfit your bike with a good light system. You will want lights for the front of your bike. Consider having multiple lights for the front of your bike. One on your helmet so you can shine side roads and traffic and have a second light on your handlebars so you can see at least 10 ft. or more in front of you. For the rear of your bike, opt for a rear red light- particularly one that blinks. A blinking red light is much more likely to get the attention of a passing motorist who might otherwise not notice you. You may also consider purchasing cycling apparel that is visible. There are options to choose from including vests and ankle bands. Also, reflective tape is a good idea. 3M makes black reflective tape that is great to put on black wheels. You do not notice it during the day and it shows up white at night.
- Avoid a wardrobe malfunction! As the temperature drops, it’s hard to know what to wear when it’s 50 degrees and sunny outside versus 30 – 35 degrees and cloudy. Riding in transitional weather can be a challenge! But, with clothing that is versatile, lightweight, and easy to pack down, you can find a cycling wardrobe that works for you. Check out our post, Avoid a Clothing Crisis! New Threads to Keep you Warm for Fall and Winter Cycling for great winter riding clothing options.
Have no fear of losing cycling motivation in the winter months! The first step towards successfully riding through the winter months is winter proofing your bike. When you are confident in your bike and clothing options, there are less excuses to tell yourself for not riding and more reasons to get on the bike and enjoy the ride.