Winter means darker, wetter and colder conditions to cycle in, and this environment can cause havoc when it comes to keeping your bike in tip top condition. There are a few steps you can take to prevent Mother Nature’s wintery ways from affecting your bike, so read on to find out how:
Probably one of the most common ailments of cycling in winter is getting your drivetrain clogged up with road sludge; especially if the road has been salted. If you’re looking for a sturdy drivetrain take a look at the Shimano derailleur range from Evans Cycles. Make sure you lubricate your bike chain generously, as well as the brake pivots, any adjustment screws and the gear mechanisms. Allow this to dry and then afterwards, wipe the lubricated area completely clean. This is very important as rain water can wash away the lubricant making your bike more susceptible to rust.
Road sludge can consist of grit and water amongst other things, which can ruin your rim sidewalls and brake pads. It can be tempting to hose down your bike to clean off all the excess dirt, but the overspray from this can wind up in bearings and cables which you definitely don’t want. You’ll need to be patient, but wait until the dirt has dried, and then brush it off with a small brush.
It might sound like a bit of an effort, but if you want your bike to last the winter then it’s worth doing. Cleaning your bike can also alert you to any potential issues such as worn brake pads, loose spokes or damaged tyres – and surely it’s better noticing these problems when you’re at home so you can do something about it, rather than being miles away on a cold winter’s evening.
Winter is also a time to think about changing your tyres. If you usually ride with thin tyres (23mm or less) then it might be worth opting for a slightly wider tyre – about 25mm or above. This will give you much better grip on the roads when they get icy. If the weather is particularly miserable then it might be time to think about studded tyres; they will keep you upright in harsh conditions that are especially icy. Give Bontrager tyres a try. They’re considered one of the best in the biz when it comes to wheels.
Just as your cycling gear steps up during the winter months (gloves, an under helmet hat etc), your bike needs this level of extra protection. By regular maintenance, you can ensure your bike has a greater chance of surviving winter conditions.