How to Get Your Bike Ready for Winter

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For cyclists in parts of the country that become cold and snowy during the winter, there are generally two options when the temperatures start to dip: get tuned up and keep pedaling or hang up your bike and grab your ski gear. Whichever path you choose, here are a few tips to get your bike ready for winter.

Ride All Winter

Road and Commuter Bikes

If you live somewhere that doesn’t get too much snow or ice, your normal commuter or road bike will be good to go after adding a few accessories.

Winter Bike Tips

  • Fenders are crucial for keeping water and debris off of you and your components.
  • If you don’t have disc brakes and your bike frame has disc mounts, consider adding them. Disc brakes provide more initial bite and stopping power in wet and grimy conditions.
  • Add a layer of wax to your frame to protect it from the elements.
  • Protect your saddle with a saddle cover.
  • Change to full-coverage cable housings to prevent rust.
  • Front and rear lights make you more visible to drivers.
  • Carry items in waterproof panniers.

Winter Bike Tips

Mountain Bikes

When the snow starts falling, mountain bikes are the way to go. The larger, knobbier tires will keep you rolling through snow, slush and mud. Not to mention the fact that the suspension will soften the ride quite a bit. But before you roll out, here are a few things to add:

  • MTB fenders
  • Studded tires
  • Pogies
  • Plus all the other standard commuter accessories.
If the trail still calls…

For those of us who have a single-track mind, even if it’s snowy, a fat bike is the way to go. The wide tires float on top of snow and slush, making snow-covered trails your playground. For more read the skinny on fat bikes.

Storing Your Bike

Prep Your Bike for Storage

Winter Bike Tips

  • Clean the frame and components–Thoroughly wash your bike with a cleaner.
  • Check your tires–Bike tires have a manufacturer-recommended storage pressure. You can find it on the tire manufacturer’s website for info or ask an REI bike technician.
  • Lubricate components–After washing, allow your bike and components to dry, then apply lubricant. For more info on properly lubricating your bike, read this article from REI Expert Advice.
  • Get a tune-up–Spring is one of the busiest times for bike shops, which means long waits for tune-ups. Avoid the line by tuning your bike before winter. (This also takes care of the previous two steps.)
Storing Your Bike

Choosing the right spot to store your bike is crucial to keeping it pedal-ready in the spring. Here are three key factors to consider in order to keep your bike:

  • Safe–Obviously storing your bike in a place where it could get stolen isn’t a great idea.
  • Dry–Water can rust your components and your frame. If you have to store your bike outside, make sure it’s covered and protected from the elements.
  • Out of the way–If you’re short on space, check out some of these handy bike storage solutions.

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