Storing a bicycle during the winter season makes a lot of sense, especially if the only other option is outdoor storage exposed to the elements. Storage lockers tend to be more climatically stable than garages, yards, or indoor rooms, keeping bikes in better shape over time. Still, there are some things to consider before putting a bike into storage to make sure that it lasts the winter without damage.
- Moisture Wrecks Steel
Moisture will slowly eat all steel components of your bicycle. If your bike has a steel frame or wheels, these will get eaten too. You can fight moisture in a number of ways:
- Choosing climate-controlled storage, which also controls humidity.
- Placing your bike up on blocks or on a wooden palette, which prevents water from wicking up through the concrete floor.
- Taking the seat off and using a towel on a stick to dry out the hollow below it.
- Lube Protects Components, if it’s Clean
Lubricant is stable and protects components from moisture and dust. However, it also accumulates minerals from road salt and dirt, and these minerals can cause rust. Before storing a bike for a long time, it’s a good idea to clean all moving components and apply fresh lubricant.
- Chains are Consumables, Not Parts
Chains are meant to be thrown out after every 2000 km of riding. This is actually a feature, not a bug, of bike chains. They wear, stretch, and warp, but by throwing them out and buying new ones, you avoid greater damage to your gears. If your chain is getting old, discard it before storing- it’s one less thing to worry about.
- Tires Warp under Pressure and Rims Break
Ideally, you should keep all pressure and weight off the tires and rims. However, if you have to stand the bike up, it is better for your tires to take the hit than your rims. Inflate the tires fully before storing to help them cushion the blow.
- Dust Does Damage
Dust contains trace minerals that cause corrosion, especially in steel components. It can also clog up the pins in your chain, causing the chain to seize when you’re cycling. To reduce the damage of dust, cover your bike in a cloth before leaving it in storage.
- Best Efforts Don’t Always Work
No matter how well you take care of your bike, time can take a toll. Inspect all parts, especially the break lines and brake pads, before taking it out on the road.