6 Steps to Cleaning Your Bike after a Winter Ride

The winter season is still such a great time to jump on the bike and burn off the extra calories gathered during the Christmas and New Years. What's keeping you off your bike?  In recent days at Bicycle Works, I've been asked several times, "How do I look after my bike in the winter?"  Also, sadly, I've talked to many people that won't ride in the cold months as they don't want to ruin their bikes. While I appreciate a person's love for their ride, and the fact that they don't mind spending time on the trainer, I highly encourage even occasional winter rides as there's nothing like the real thing to clear your head and flush your system.  Whether it's a snowy ride through the woods, a commute to work or a good old training ride, we're faced with the same problem.

ROAD SALT - How do we keep it from eating away our pride and joy!

Salt will corrode any steel parts on your bike, seize up many bolts, spokes and spoke nipples, making them unusable by spring if not dealt with properly. As salt is in the air on the road and in whatever wetness you ride through, it attacks at all angles and in every nook and cranny it can.  This why we must be proactive in our maintenance program for winter riding.

6 Steps to Cleaning Your Bike after a Winter Ride

  1. Using a heavier wet lube on the chain will keep it protected longer and lubed longer if it is actually wet on your ride.
  2. Derailleurs should be sprayed with a multi-lube often to protect and keep from seizing up from corrosion or freezing (if wet).
  3. Spray all the pivot points, a little on the jockey wheels also to help keep junk from creeping past seals.
  4. Front derailleurs are most known for sticking as they don't get used as often as rear deraileurs.
  5. Also cantilever brake pivots can go all year without maintenance, but can seize up after a few rides if not looked after (again, a little muti-lube or even WD40 at least will do).
  6. Most importantly we need to remove the salt.

Steps to Removing Road Salt from your Bike

We don't have to formally wash our bikes every time, but a quick rinse off is all the bike needs to get rid of the salt residue, especially if it's done after every ride. Not everyone can bring their bike to the shower like we do at the bike shop (and not get in trouble!), but as long as you find some means of spraying off or splashing or sponging from a pail of water, it can be quickly done.

Key to this is to get the bike inside to dry off FULLY. Next ride will be very frustrating if cables etc still have some moisture in them (pick a gear you like!)

Once you find a routine that works for you, you can enjoy the other world of cycling without ruining your ride!


Photo Credit: www.iamspecialized.com

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