Saturday, November 14, 2009


For those of us who live in the snow belt, winter bike storage is a yearly chore that has to be undertaken. Granted some of you still ride in the Winter, but I'm sure you use a beater bike or at the very least store part of your stable away from the elements for the season.

Tossing a bicycle under the balcony or leaving it in the yard at the mercy of Mother Nature is a sure fire way to shorten a bike's useful life. We'll deal here with some of the preparations that should go into proper bike storage and other considerations.


The best of all options. If this is possible for you, by all means please do so. Controlled climate is the best way to keep your ride healthy over the Winter. The best place would be within your living quarters or the basement of a single family dwelling. Lockers that are usually found in apartment buildings are often the favorite shopping place for bike thieving scum. Lockers are usually away from living quarters and not the scene of regular human traffic. You might want to hide your bike underneath boxes or a swarm of your unused knick knacks. Putting a lock on the bike is not an option in this situation. Make the bastards work for it if they decide to give it a go anyways.

The least desirable of both options, but sometimes the unavoidable one. At the very least, your pride and joy should be covered with a tarp of some kind, left under a roofed structure or in a shed. The enemy here is prolonged exposure to humidity. Strip the bike of all removable and delicate components. Leather seat, bike computer, saddle bags and anything you can easily remove should be stored indoors.

Storage units are also a useful thing to consider. Sometimes there’s simply no room around the house, and storage units are safe, secure, and usually climate-controlled, meaning you can put your mind at ease until it’s time to ride again.

Here are some things you should do before leaving your ride alone for a long period of time. Lube the chain and all derailleurs. Shift down all derailleurs to remove tension in the cables. This will effectively put the spring in them at rest. You run the chance of losing your first gear on the chainring and the last gear on the rear wheel if you don't take that precaution. Trust me, I've been there.

Clean the bike to remove any dirt residue that could turn into rust over the winter. The best thing to use for this would be lemon furniture polish. Pledge does a great job, clean with one rag and then buff with another. The wax left from the cleaning should add some protection to the finish. It smells nice too.

Put some air in those tires. Rubber inner tubes are porous to some degree and you do lose air pressure over time. A low pressure tire sitting at the same place for a long time will develop a flat spot. This will effectively turn your ride into a clown bike...sorta. Another way to avoid this is to hang the bike from the ceiling, eliminating any contact on the ground with the tires.

Lastly, lock your bike up. Even if it is stored with you in your living quarters, it is still vulnerable. I've heard of a friend who's bike got lifted while he was inside his apartment. If you already have a lock, it won't do you no good if it sits in storage in your saddle bags over the winter. Take the extra 30 seconds to get some peace of mind that you already paid for.

Until next time, ride safe and Godspeed.

Gerry :)


Big Oak said...

I've always wondered if hanging a bike by one wheel will distort the rim. Have you ever noticed that? I hang my bikes by two rims, but haven't noticed any changes. I'm getting enough bikes now that I'll probably need to hang one or two by the front rim as you have in the photo.

Gerry Lauzon said...

That's a good question. I'll deduct here that the wheel can sustain almost 10 times the weight of the bike so I don't think that it should affect it at all. I've never experience such problems myself and I've had some heavy weights hanging up. Of course leaving the bike that way untouched for years could be a whole other ball game, but that's just my opinion based on nothing more than an educated guess.

Gerry :)

Matthew Alphonso said...

I live in Louisiana where it is humid year round (it's a god send when the humidity is less than 70%) and as I am in the unfortunate position of being a brand new bike bum I was wondering if you had any year round storage advice. Or perhaps what general maintenance should I simply increase to compensate.

Gerry Lauzon said...

Matthew, just make sure that your chain and gears are well lubricated and you should be fine.

Gerry :)