Thursday, October 4, 2012

Winterizing Your Ride

Contributed by: Jean Paul Tesolin, Operations Director at Via Ciclante

The Canadian climate can be difficult on bikes and on you, while riding. The answer is not to stuff your bike into your convenient dry storage but to be prepared. You probably vaguely remember the salesperson at your local shop suggesting that you will need to protect your investment and yourself by purchasing degreasers, lubricants, fenders and weather resistant clothing. Now is the time to be prepared for the change in seasons! The good news is that it’s cheap and easy to do it yourself.  

We all know that bikes don’t like water, or snow or salty slush, so the answer is to protect against corrosion through long lasting wet lubricants. But this doesn’t mean that lathering up your bike with oil will protect your bike. You will need to prepare your bike by cleaning it with degreasers before lubricating. The synthetic properties in the oil need bond to a clean metal surface, for the lubricant to work properly. Clean your drivetrain with a biodegradable citrus degreaser removing caked on summer road dust, then, generously apply the oil directly to the top of the chain. Lubricating the barrels of the chain will ensure the chain will roll problem free.  Don’t worry about the mess, place some old newspaper or cardboard under the bike to catch the excess. If you have applied too much then rag off the rest. 

OK now that you have the chain covered, you can’t stop there. Along with the your chain oil, I encourage you to purchase a lighter teflon oil, preferably in a drip style container. You need to lubricate the other components on your bike. Take a look and the pivot points on your derailleur, the junction points between the black cable housing and the inner cable, the shifters on the handlebars and the brake assembly. These moving points are critical to protection and performance. Stream oil onto these parts and your bike will eat it up and love you for it.  A warning: don’t lubricate disc brakes, the pads are absorbent and will ruin the brake performance.

Now that you have protected your bike from the elements, it’s time to protect you. My first suggestion to get a set of full fenders. This will protect you from getting soaked from the wet roads. Second, purchase wind and water resistant clothing. You will need pants, a jacket, shoe covers and gloves. You can find this kind of clothing in various styles and fit, so don’t be afraid to shop it to find what’s right for you.

Winters are not impossible to ride in but being prepared will make all the difference.  If after all this you decide to not act on my suggestions, I won’t be offended, but you will be looking at high maintenance costs in the spring or I dare say it a replacement new bike, simply because corrosion will have ruined your bike. That’s fine, I know just the place to get a new one.  Enjoy your fall/winter riding experience, be safe and have fun. 

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