How to Store Your Bicycle for Winter

Here are some tips on how to store your bicycle for winter. Before you put it away,

  • clean and wax the frame
  • clean the wheel rims and spokes
  • clean and lube the chain
  • replace the handlebar tape — it’s probably pretty tired after a season of riding
  • clean and treat the saddle surface (note to Brooks users: use Proofide® sparingly, every 6 months)
  • apply oil at the pivot points on the derailleurs
  • put clear nail polish on any dings in the paint to prevent rust
  • loosen the seat post binder bolt, remove the seat post, lube it and reinstall it
  • fix anything that needs to be fixed so you don’t have to worry about in spring

Depending on where you live, your bike could be in storage for as much as 6 months. If you store it in a garage or shed, cover it with an old sheet or tarp to keep the dust off. Hanging it up so that the wheels are off the ground will keep the tires from taking a set as they slowly deform from declining tire pressure. I prefer to keep the bike in a horizontal position.

Storing the Bicycle

Don’t worry about rust causing condensation when storing your bike in a cold location. Even if a moist warm front blows in and raises temperatures, condensation will occur on the outside of the frame, but not on the inside. Consider this comment by an engineer’s engineer, Jobst Brandt on condensation: “Before moist warm … air can effectively diffuse through the tiny openings into unpainted tube interiors, the frame will have warmed up to ambient. Condensation on the exterior finish is certainly less damaging than one ride in the rain, but then fear mongers abound on the net.”

If you store your bike inside, in a place where you see it every day (and give it a fond pat on the handlebars), don’t worry about hanging it up. Just turn the tires a bit every week or so and pump up the tires every 60 days. That will keep the tires nice and round.

You may have some electronic goodies on your bike. If they use rechargeable batteries, check the manufacturer’s instruction for the best way to store them for a long time. Should the batteries be fully charged prior to storage, partially charged or something else?

Now, all you have to do is wait for Spring!

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