Hello all you hardy winter cyclists. Braving cold and wet not only requires a little extra care and maintenance of your body but also your bicycle too. Here are some useful tips for keeping your second most important facility in ship shape working order.
When riding in the rain or when you’re caught out in the elements, stick scrunched up newspaper inside your sodden cycle shoes to maintain their shape and dry them out for your next ride.
Also use newspaper down the front of your cycle jersey (but not against the skin), as a means to keep the wind out, warmth in and sweat away from skin.
Regularly check your tires for signs of wear (the rear tire will wear twice as fast as the front) and catalysts for punctures – shards of glass and stray metals. These nasties can lodge in a tire but not piece the rubber immediately. Due to increased grit on the road and wetter conditions, these catalysts become more of an issue.
Other parts of your bicycle susceptible to increased wear due to the wintry wet conditions are your rims and brakes. Regularly clean these surfaces to remove grit which grinds down the rubber of the brakes and alloy/carbon of the rim.
Finally, a good guideline for cleaning and lubing your chain is weekly, in DRY weather. Depending on the lube that you use (some are heavier or generally more water resistant than others), you’ll need to re-lube after no more than two rides in the wet, preferably after one! Also, always apply the chain lube to the inside of the chain (the surface that does not directly face the road). Apply it just in front of the rear derailleur.
Good luck out there soldiers!