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Putting Your Bike Away for Winter

By Christopher Ashley

Now that you’ve decided to buy a winter bike you’ve got to think about storing your summer bikes for the next few months.  Here’s how to do it.

Wash your bike

Before the weather gets too cold, give your bike a wash.  Take the opportunity now while there’s still movement in the summer-grade lube, and before your drive chain takes any abuse from the winter muck and grime – especially you guys with roadies.

Remove the chain from your bike and set it aside for its own special treatment.  With the chain out the way, you can really make sure you go to town cleaning the bike.  It’s nice to give your bike a ritualistic farewell but come spring time, you’ll be glad you made the effort.

Pickle the chain

Now you can attend to your chain.  Getting rid of the muck, minerals and grime that’s built up is essential – not only for your chain, but also for the other parts it rubs against.  Your cassette will thank you.  Check out this video for our favourite method of degreasing your bike chain.

Even out of storage, I recommend the 3-chain rotation system – keep one chain on your bike, one chain degreasing, and another chain drying in your workshop.  Each chain will last 3 times longer and save wear on your cassette.

Tyre and tube care

Ideally you want to hang your bike by its frame while you’re not using it for extended periods.  But if this isn’t an option, pump your tyres to full pressure, and give them a quick squeeze once a week to check if they’ve significantly deflated.

If they’re deflated enough that the rim is close to pinching the tyre and innertube against the floor, pump them up to full pressure.  Although it’s unlikely to cause snakebites, even a light carbon bike resting directly on deflated tubes can cause the tubes to weaken on that spot.  Why risk it?

Cover up

Now that you’ve spent all that time preparing your bike for storage, you’ll want to cover it up to keep the dust from settling.  Full bike covers are great – but make sure you get one that gives you easy access to the tyres in case you need to pump them.

Consider the environment you’re storing your bike in.  If you’re doing lots of woodwork and there’s lots of dust, one of the above bike-specific bags will work for you.  If you’re storing your bike in a vehicle-only space such as a domestic garage, a simple dust sheet will probably work just fine.