Last week we talked about the proper clothing to wear as we gear up to take our bikes out in the winter. However, preparing our bikes for the cold is just as important as preparing ourselves. Winterizing your bikes and proper maintenance will not only help ensure the lasting quality of the bikes, but will also provide a safer ride in the winter.
Winterizing Your Bike:
- Bike Type:
- Mountain bikes, hybrids, or single speed bikes often are the preferred type of bike for winter riding.
- Although some cyclist do not find it is necessary many winter riders will exchange their normal tires with a pair of studded tires which provide excellent traction on ice.
- Another great option is to use wide tires. The larger surface area increases traction.
- In winter it is also a good idea to reduce the air pressure of your tires. This allows more tire to be in contact with road and greater traction. The deeper the snow the less pressure you want in your tires, but make sure to stay within the tires recommended pressure range. This is located on the sidewall of the tire.
- If you want to stay dry and slush free this seasons, fenders are a must. Fenders or Mud Guards are designed to protect you and the drivetrain from the debris on the road and will make your winter experience much more enjoyable. However, snow can also build up within the fenders and may increase resistance if they are not cleaned out.
- If you ride with clipless pedals or toe straps during the summer you may want to consider swapping them out for platform pedals. These will work well with boots and be safer in the event that you need to put a foot down.
- Headlights and Reflectors:
- Since the sun rises later and sets earlier in the winter visibility becomes more difficult. Therefore, having proper front and rear lights as well as reflectors is essential to safe biking.
- Time for a tune up:
- If you are uncertain that your bike is ready for winter bring it into a local bike shop for a tune up before you ride. The months of riding in snow, salt, sand and all the other nasty stuff that gets put on the road during winter will take its toll on all the bike’s parts, so it is better to be prepared before you start riding.
- Clean and Dry:
- Cleaning your bike after each use will dramatically reduce the amount of wear and tear that your bike will go through in the winter. It is also important to wipe the bike and chain dry after each use.
- The Drivetrain:
- It is important to clean and lubricated the chain, derailleurs and cassette/freewheel regularly. This will decrease corrosion and wear on the gears while also extending the drivetrains life.
Making sure your bike is properly maintained is important throughout the entire year, but it is even more critical for winter riding. A well maintained and winterized bike will provide an excellent and safe experience for any cyclist.
Get out and ride!
Samantha & Steve