Surviving Winter

The Inspiration

After running through a few ideas with the rest of the workshop guys for this weeks maintenance guide and an extremely cold morning ride to the shop we gathered inspiration from the near arctic conditions.

I’m sorry but it’s winter. Say goodbye to double figure temperatures. Say goodbye to riding after work without the assistance of lights and high visibility clothing. It’s just not going to happen until at least May next year. It’s a saddening though, however if you’re less deterred by the shorter days and colder nights you’ve probably come here for a little bit of advice on how to survive and you’re definitely going to be un-sympathetic to my moaning.

So putting aside my clear dislike for winter conditions here’s my top tips for helping your bike survive the rain, snow, dark & everything in between.

Survival 101

1. Put your bike away for the winter, this isn’t me going back on my word already. I’m simply suggesting that maybe riding your best bike should be reserved for the best weather. Many roadies opt for steel over winter, many mountain bikers go for a bike with less linkage bearings and nice simple components that are easier to maintain and less expensive.

2. This one isn’t strictly a winter tip but consider adding a few pairs of blue nitrile gloves to your maintenance kit, they pack down to virtually nothing and they’ll save your hands getting oily and dirty if you need to perform an emergency repair which is always great instead of putting your oily hands back in your expensive winter gloves. When you’re done with the gloves simply turn them inside out and pack them back in your maintenance kit.

3. Change your lube. Water washes that precious lube right off your chain. Winter lubes are formulated to be stickier and thicker than summer and general alternatives. In summer these lubes are a nightmare because dust clings to it but in winter it outshines thinner and runnier rivals.

4. This probably goes without saying but the best way to keep your bike going over winter is good old elbow grease. Wash it as often as you can and more importantly in colder weather dry it properly afterwards. Steel components can start to oxidize if water stays on them even for just a few hours so spending an extra five minutes drying your steed off will pay off in the long run. Remember that the extra thick lube on your drivetrain will quickly accumulate and will need to be de-greased and re-applied regularly.

5. More of a preventative measure for a pet hate more than a maintenance tip. This quick tip will save your bolt heads from rusting over. Using a grease gun simply apply a little grease into the bolt head which will help prevent the generation of rust.