The active training and competition season has ended and you are staring at the setting in of winter. You now need to hang up your bike and enter another season marked by low activity. The season is going to be so dormant that even your racing bike needs to take a break from the road. But as you anticipate the off season period to set in, you need to store your bicycle and wait until the season is over and spring comes knocking.
How best can you store your bike so that when spring comes you will get it in its optimal working condition? What should you do to ensure that the bike is stored in a manner that is safe and proper? All these questions are valid, and they require straight answers, and that is why this article seeks to provide you with all these answers in a manner that is satisfactory and easy to understand.
By following the insights and guidelines provided in this post, you will be able to save your bike from different deterioration problems that arise when your bike stays out of use for a long time. However, the scope of this post is confined to storing the bike within the confines of your home and not the premises of commercial storage companies. By the time you come to the end of this article, you will be armed with all the facts that will enable you to get back your bike on the road in the best riding condition when spring comes around.
As the article unfolds, we are going to examine this topic under the following subsections: making the right preparations for the season; choosing the right location for your bike: either outdoors or indoors; understanding the various storage methods plus their cons and pros; tips on how to store your bike indoors and outdoors; how to prepare the bike for riding when spring comes and; the parting shot.
Making the preparations
In this section, we are going to look at some of the mandatory preparations that you will have to make before you finally hang up the bike. The reason for such preparations is that there are some parts of the bicycle that will need to be removed while others will need to be subjected to preservative processes such as oiling and painting. Below are some of the preparatory steps you will take.
Remove all computers and electronic accessories
If your bike has any computer accessories, you need to remove and store them separately. The reason for this detachment is that such devices are prone to the adverse effects of extreme cold weather conditions and hence you will need to store them in a safe and dry place. In addition, when you keep computers and other electronic gadgets away from excess cold, the life of their batteries will be prolonged.
Remove all water bottles
The other vital accessories that you will need to detach from the bike are your water bottle. Removing these bottles will ensure that they don’t get exposed to debris and other effects of freezing in the garage or any other place where you will have stored your bike.
Clean the bike
Before you store the bike, you have to wash it thoroughly. In the process, you’ve got to ensure that you remove all dirt, grime, mud, and any road salt so that the bike does not corrode during the cold season ahead. Additionally, you need to dry the bike properly after washing so that it is not exposed to rusting.
Tune up the bike
Another vital preparatory step you will need to take is to fine tune your bike. By fine-tuning the bike before storage, you will be sparing yourself all the usual last minute rush to fine tune it when the spring season comes around.
Inflate the tires
In addition, you will need to inflate the tires before you store the bike even though you will not be using it for a long time. The reason behind such a move is to ensure that the bike does not develop bulges or flat spots that are common when a bike stays on its wheels without being used for a long time or lacks sufficient inflation. However, inflating your tires is not applicable if you will be storing it using the hanging method.
Lubricating the cables and chains
Don’t forget to lubricate your bike’s chain and cables. Lubricating your bike in preparation for winter will enable it to have higher levels of protection from all the corroding effects that can affect its parts that are more prone to corroding components. When you do the lubrication properly, you will eliminate all the issues that arise from rusting while on the other hand, you will be boosting the bike’s performance once winter is over.
Inspect the bike’s frame
Before you send your bike for that long annual leave, it is necessary to inspect it. The best time to assess the bike is when you are cleaning it. You need to make a thorough and closer inspection of the bike’s general and structural completeness. Check out for any sign of weakness, crack, and metal fatigue, especially around the bottom bracket that holds the greater part of the weight. You need to check for any screeching sound and make all the necessary adjustments and repairs before storage.
In the process of inspection, you will need to pay attention to some of the following parts of the bike. Check out to see if the wheels are loose or they have any broken spoke and also to establish that they are spinning correctly. Additionally, you need to make sure that the wheels are spinning in a straight manner and they don’t veer off or make any rubbing on the brake pads.
Other components that you will need to pay close attention to are the brake pads. You will have to ensure that they are properly aligned, and they don’t have any serious wear and tear.
Clean the bike’s chain
Additionally, you will be required to clean your bicycle’s chain. You need to remember that the chain is one of the most important components on your bike and keeping it clean is instrumental to the performance of the bicycle. You will have to remove all the dirt and debris that have accumulated in the chain during the peak season that is coming to an end. Cleaning the chain will protect it from rust and keep it ready for cycling when winter fades away.
After making all the storage preparations as we have seen in the preceding chapter, we now shift our attention to the place where you will elect to store your bike during the coming winter season. The most important factor here is the decision you make to store the bike either indoors or outside. However, if you are living in a rented apartment, you will most likely be forced to store the bike outdoors. If you are going to store the bicycle outside, you’ve got to pay attention to the following tips:
- Make sure that the bike is completely dry so that you don’t have problems with rusting
- You will have to ensure that you oil the chain and all other parts that need oiling such as gears and bearings
- In case the bike has a steel frame, you will need to repaint or oil all exposed metal parts
- Additionally, if your bike has a steel frame, you will have to add a layer of buff and wax
- In case the frame of your bike is carbon, you’ve got to polish it with lemon fresh wood furniture polish
- Another factor to take into consideration as you store your bike outside is its safety. You will have to lock it securely so that thieves will not have an easy time trying to steal it
- Lift up the bike, so that is does not rest on its tires
- You will need to use a cover all around the bike so that you can protect it from hostile weather elements
If you opt to store the bike indoors, then you’ve got to pay special attention to the remaining sections of this chapter. The options you have for indoor storage are the basement, garage and even a room if you have a big house.
Ultimately, indoor storage is the safest option even though you will have to exercise some caution, especially if you are storing it in a garage. That is why you will need to lock your bike so that you don’t give a diligent thief an easy time to steal it when you have opened the door to the garage.
As you store the bike indoors, you can still choose to hang it by either both or one of the wheels. You also need to make sure that you don’t store the bike with its tires on bare concrete surfaces such as basement or garage floors for a long time. The reason behind this precaution is that the concrete on the floor will suck in the moisture in the tires and cause them to dry, rot, and age prematurely.
However, you can still store the bike on the floors as long as they don’t have concrete. Additionally, you can cover a concrete floor with other materials such as mats or carpets and then store the bike with its wheels on the floor. However, when you choose this kind of storage, you have to ensure that you inflate the tires and keep on checking their pressure levels on a regular basis during the winter season. Taking such precaution will ensure the tires don’t bulge out for a long time and stop them from cracking and developing other weaker spots.
Another factor you need to put into consideration as you store your bike during winter is the effect of cold temperature on the bike. You need to understand that extremely cold temperatures cannot and do not damage a bicycle. The only problem may only arise when and if there is a sudden or drastic change in the temperatures from cold to warm and vice versa. Such frequent and swift shift in temperature can cause a condensing in moisture and, make the frame of the bike corrode.
Due to the possibility of rusting as a result of sudden temperature changes, you have to choose your storage location carefully. This kind of consideration will ensure that your bike remains safe. You, therefore, need to make sure that if you cycle your bicycle in cold weather, store it in a place that is also cold such as a garage and not in a room that is warmer.
After choosing the most appropriate location to store your bike for the cold season, you also have a wide range of options to choose from when it comes to how you will store your bike. There are several ways and positions of storing a bike, and this section is devoted to the sharing of some of them. We are going to take an in-depth examination of each one of them in relation to their different pros and cons. Keep on reading below to learn more.
Wall and ceiling storage hooks
This form of storage entails the use of a hook. You will need a storage hook that is coated with vinyl and has a J shape. You can buy these hooks from any bike shop or hardware near you. To use them, you will need to screw them on a wall or ceiling and then hang your bike on them by one wheel.
- The advantages of this method
This method has a few advantages over the other methods. First of all, they are more affordable. Second, they are simple and easy to use.
- The disadvantages of ceiling and wall storage hooks
Despite the affordability and simplicity of the method, it has a few notable cons. First, you must screw them into a wall stud. The second shortcoming is that you need to raise the bicycle to the level of the hook and this can be a bit tiresome.
Wall storage hook with tray
This is another form of wall hook storage. It features a wall hook and a small tray onto which the bike wheel rests. The tray ensures that the bike’s tire does not mark and spoil the wall. Other variations of this storage method also feature an extra tray that holds the other wheel while others may have a single tray that holds the two bike wheels.
- The advantages of this method
This storage option has two main advantages: first of all, it is a simple solution that is easy to use; second, it does not mark or spoil walls.
- The disadvantages of the method
Despite its awesome strengths, the method has two main shortcomings that are similar to those of the method we have discussed before. First of all, you need to screw into a wall stud and second; you need to lift the bike to the hook’s height.
Wall storage hook with full-length tray
Wall storage hook is another form of wall-mounted hooks. It has two hooks that keep the bike held onto the wall, hence it doesn’t make a vertical turning during storage.
- The pros of this method
The main advantage of storing your bike using this method is: It keeps the bike held in its in usual horizontal position and it eliminates the need to elevate it above the floor.
- The main con of this method
The main disadvantage of this system is that you need to screw it into a wall stud.
Not all hook-based storage methods require you to lift the bike above the floor. We have several ceiling-mounted hooks which allow you to easily elevate the bicycle above the floor.
You only need two hooks that are attached to a cord and a set of pulleys and these tools make the elevation process easier for anyone irrespective of whether they are tall or short.
- The main pros of the method
The two main advantages of using this storage method are: you use very little of your floor space and; you don’t need to do any heavy lifting to get the bike to the hook.
- The main cons of this method
Despite the convenience the method allows you to enjoy, it has one con and that is: you have to screw into a ceiling joist.
Ceiling-mounted bike pulley system
The ceiling-mounted pulley system is another type of bicycle storage rack, and it is most suitable if you have a limitation of floor space. The rack is used to hold one of the bike’s wheels so that the bike does not fall over. Some of them are fitted with small wheels on their stands which makes moving the bike in the room more easier.
- The pros of the method
This method has three main advantages and they are as follows: first of all, it is small; second, it is easy to carry around and; third, there is no need to keep on carrying the bike.
- The cons of the method
The main downside of this type of storage is that it allows one of the bike’s wheels to rest on the floor.
These stands are another type of storage and it can hold one or more bicycles on a rack. The good side of these racks is that you can move them to any part of the room when the need to do so arises.
A good number of these racks have wide leg bases and these legs let the racks to freely on their own while holding bicycles on either side. But other types have bike hooks on a single side with the other side leaning against a wall.
- The pros of these racks
These storage racks have two main advantages, and they are as follows: first of all, they can hold several bikes and; second, they don’t need you to make any permanent installations.
- The disadvantages of the racks
The main con of this method is that you need to lift up the second bicycle so that you can get it to the upper hooks.
Wall-leaning storage rack
These racks are another type of storage and they are similar to the ones we have discussed above. The only difference between them is that you will need to lean the stand against a wall. This kind of storage is an ideal solution appropriate for those households which have many bikes.
- Their main advantages
The main advantages of these racks are: you can use them to store many bikes at the same time; their second pro is that you don’t need to make any installations in your walls; and the last advantage of these racks is that it is easy to safely lock bikes onto them.
- Their main cons are
Despite their excellent advantages, these racks have a few disadvantages, and they are as follows: first of all, they require a lot of floor space, and hence they may not be the best option for households which have smaller storage rooms; the second disadvantage of this method is that all the bikes will have one of their wheels resting on the floor.
Tips on how best you can store your bike during winter: Indoor and outdoor
I have devoted this section to the sharing of the best tips that will help you get the best out of the winter storage. These ideas will enable you to enjoy the storage process and also reap the many benefits that go with it. Below are some of them.
Make sure that you lubricate the cables or chain before storing the bike
This tip is particularly necessary if you store your bike in a cold garage or basement that is not exposed to heat. In the above storage facilities, it will be necessary for you to lubricate the bike’s cables and chain. However, you don’t need to do lubrication if you plan to store the bike in an area that has access to enough heat.
In case you reside in an apartment, and you want to store your bike for winter on the balcony, then make sure that you lubricate the chain, turn the bicycle upside down, and cover the bike to keep it safe from hostile weather elements.
Remember to inflate the tires before storing the bike
You need to inflate your bike’s tires before you store it for winter because they will get deflated during the cold season. But if you keep your bicycle in a garage that is not heated, you can remove the tires and keep them in an area that has sufficient heat. Such a storage move protects the rubber on the bike’s tires.
You can hang the bike up
You are at liberty to hang your bike on a wall or ceiling. Alternatively, you can turn it upside down to ensure there is no weight being exerted on the tires.
Keep your bike away from direct sunlight
You need to keep your bike away from direct sunlight. The only exception is where you have new windows or ones that have ultraviolet protection. If you store your bike in direct sunlight, the sun’s rays can dry and split the sidewalls of its tires.
Pay special attention to bikes with steel-frame
Another tip that will enable to get the best out of your bike after winter is how you deal with its frame. You need to pay special attention to the frame of your bike if it is made of steel. If you leave such bikes in an area that lacks heat, its steel frame can get so cold that it will condense and cause it to rust. That is why it is prudent to store such bicycles in areas that receive enough heat.
Now that winter is over, and spring is here: How to prepare your bike for spring
When winter comes to an end, there always comes spring, and it is time to celebrate the vanishing of the chilling cold and welcome the arrival of warm and beautiful sunshine. This section is intended to show you how to welcome the new season by getting the bike back to the road and business as usual.
The following paragraphs are intended to give you insightful and clear step-by-step tips and ideas that will enable you to handle your bicycle well and prepare it to get back on the road. This preparation is just as important as the one which preceded it when you sent the bike into hibernation.
Listed below are some of the preparatory steps that will guide you through the process of getting your bike ready for cycling in the new season.
Ensure that you fully tune up the bike
Before you get your bike back to the road, you need to tune it up. However, you can skip this step if you had tuned up the bike before you stored it up for the winter season.
Inflate the tires
The next step after getting the bike out of the storage room is to ensure that the wheels have the right amount of pressure. You need to undertake this step so that you can enjoy a safe ride and avoid running into the inconveniences of riding on a flat tire.
Another important process you need to subject your bike to, after getting it from the garage or wherever you had stored it, is to lubricate the chain once again. However, this stage may not be compulsory if the chain is still adequately oiled. You will therefore have to use your judgment to decide whether to grease it or not; and if you need to lubricate it, then you have to determine to what extent you will oil. That is why you will have to feel the condition of the chain to see if it is too dry to propel the bike. Alternatively, you can opt to ride the bike for a short period to see if it is producing any unusual noise that calls for lubrication.
Clean the bike
Cleaning is another critical stage your bike needs to go through before you can start using it again after winter is over. You will have to wipe it and remove all the dust it had accumulated in the garage or basement for the few months it was not in use. Make sure you wipe the seat and all the other parts of the frame using a clean piece of cloth and soapy water but don’t use too much water in the cleaning process.
The parting shot
Storage is an important part of maintaining your bike during the off season period that is marked by the chilling cold and hostile conditions that come with winter. Due to the effects that winter can have on your bike, you have to store it properly so that you can continue enjoying it soon after spring sets in.
For you to store your bike well, you have to prepare it properly so that it retains its integrity and soundness.Make sure you wash the bike and dry it well before storing it so that it does not become vulnerable to rusting and corrosion. In addition, you are supposed to remove all water bottles, computers, and all other electronic devices that may be on the machine. You also have to inspect the bike to ensure that it is in its proper functional condition and also lubricate its chain and cables.
Making a choice for the right storage location is another vital part of the process. You need to select a place that is safe from all hostile weather conditions that can adversely the bike or ensure that those places have sufficient heat.
All you need to do is to follow the guidelines and tips we have shared in this article, and you will enjoy riding your bike after winter comes to an end.