Sunday, 9 August 2015

Bicycle Storage 101: Don't Forget These 4 Steps

Salisbury has more than its fair share of biking trails. From Bikemans training loop to Tea Tree Gully loop, these paths will test your endurance while stimulating your mind and body.

But during the winter, your bike doesn't see a lot of use. The heavy rains wash out your usual paths, and the chilly temperatures leave you snuggling indoors with a blanket and cocoa rather than adventuring outdoors with your helmet
and pads.

To save space in your garage, you decide to put your bike into a storage unit. But before you wheel in your Condor Flat Bar, take a few moments to prepare it for weeks (or months) of disuse.

1. Clean the Frame
Dirt, mud and caked-on debris will rust your bike's components. While you don't want to soak the frame with a garden hose (water will drip into hard-to-dry places), you do want to clean your bike from its handgrips to its treads.

To start, use a soft-bristled brush to knock away any dirt still clinging to the tyres. Then, use a slightly damp rag to wipe away any dust on the frame. As you clean, spend some extra time around your drive train-this area tends to accumulate a lot of grease and grime build-up.

When you've finished with the frame, feel free to apply ArmourAll or a similar product to the tyres, handgrips and saddle. This will protect the rubber and vinyl surfaces from UV radiation damage.

2. Lubricate the Chains and Cables
If you plan to keep your bike in a climate-controlled unit, you might not need to worry about this step. But in areas that experience extreme temperature fluctuations, you'll want to lubricate the chains. The lubricant acts as a barrier against rust, and it will ensure you have a smoother ride come summer. Keep in mind that lubricant tends to attract dust and dirt, so you'll need only a few drops to keep your bike in good shape.

3. Protect the Tyres
Rubber tyres perform best when they can distribute the weight evenly. If left in the same position for too long, the weight of the frame will press into the rubber, resulting in distorted tyres or weak spots in the tyres' sidewalls. To avoid this problem, you'll want to fully inflate your tyres before storage. You can also suspend the bike from a hook in the wall or ceiling to shift the weight from the tyres to the frame.

If you want to further protect your tyres, remove them entirely and place them in a temperature-controlled area. Extreme cold makes the rubber brittle and more likely to crack. Extreme heat, on the other hand, makes the rubber expand, and in some cases, causes it to soften and melt.

Do not place your bike or your tyres in direct sunlight; UV rays can dry the tyre sidewalls until they split.

4. Remove Accessories
Extra accessories such as water bottles, baskets and saddle packs make your ride more comfortable and enjoyable. But they also add a lot of pressure on the frame when you place your bike in storage. Furthermore, electronic devices
don't perform well after heat and cold exposure, so remove these gadgets and store them inside for the winter.

Enjoy a Smooth Ride
If you've followed these steps, your bike will survive its time in storage, whether you leave it in a unit for a few weeks or even a few months. Once the good weather returns, you'll have no problems removing your bike and hitting the
trails once more.

But if you notice any problems with your bike as you clean, lubricate and remove accessories, don't wait until spring to take it in for a tune-up. The longer these problems go unchecked, the more expensive your repairs will be.

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