Winter has well and truly arrived, which means your bicycle will need specific types of maintenance so it continues to ride smoothly all year round. If you neglect your bike during the winter just because you’re not riding it as frequently, you could face mechanical issues once the warmer season arrives. You should also know that colder weather doesn’t mean your bike needs to be hidden away in the garage, gathering dust until the sun comes up. Chilly weather cycling can be just as fun and rewarding as summer trips, so keep your bike in great condition so you can enjoy cycling regardless of the season.
Clean your bike after every trip.
While you may be tired after heading home from a big mountain bike riding expedition, you should still take the time to care of your bicycle once you arrive home to ensure no damage occurs while it’s stored between rides. This is especially important if you’re cycling through wet, muddy, or snowy weather conditions. If moisture, mud, and frost have built up on your bicycle during your trip, give your bicycle a good clean and make sure that the spokes, rims, chains, brake cables, frame, and every area of your bike is as good as new before you put it back in the garage to prevent rusting and damage.
Go for a service.
Maintaining your bike in the winter months doesn’t have to be a DIY job. If you don’t have time, energy, or expertise to tackle the task on your own, you can always bring your bike into the local cycle shop to a trusted bicycle mechanic. Winter is generally a slow season for bike shops, so they’ll have plenty of time to give your wheels a proper tune-up and service.
Regular, effective cleaning is an important aspect of good bicycle maintenance, but there are certain errors you could make that may cause problems further down the line for your bike. For example, if you go to dry off your bike before it’s been properly cleaned, you could cause scratches to form on the paint job of your bicycle. The wrong water pressure can also cause issues – make sure you use a low-pressure water spray when hosing the bicycle down so that the bearings and seals aren’t damaged by the force of the water.
Invest in some mudguards.
If you’re traveling on your mountain bike in the winter, you may find yourself dealing with a lot more mud than you or your bike are used to. You can deal with this ahead of time by purchasing a good set of mudguards for your bike to prevent excess mud from building up around your gear cables, brake, and drive chain. If you don’t have mudguards, make sure you clean the mud from these areas thoroughly after every ride to avoid issues.
Check on your brakes.
Winter is a dangerous time to have dodgy brakes, so give your brakes a good check-up during this season to make sure they’re ready to handle whatever the season throws at them. You can do this by visiting your local bicycle retailer and mechanic, or by taking the wheels off and checking for signs of wear and tear.