You and your bike have had some pretty wonderful adventures together. From speeding into the city to get to work on time, cruising to the farmers’ market on the weekend to riding through the mountains, your trusty steed has shown you a lot of love. That’s why it’s important that you show it some love in return when it comes to storing it. As tempting as it might be to leave it in your yard, doing so can result in it getting rusted, warped or worst of all, stolen. To ensure that your bike is with you for the long haul, follow these storage tips:
Before storing your bike, take the time to clean it. This actually isn’t that complicated or expensive. In fact, you don’t even have to buy any special bike cleaning products. All you need is some mild dishwashing soap, a bucket, a large sponge and a toothbrush. Fill the bucket with warm water and head outside. Thoroughly wet the frame of the bike, then wet the sponge and apply a small amount of dishwashing soap. Clean thoroughly and then use the toothbrush to remove stubborn dirt from hard to reach areas. The key here is to be gentle. Never wash your bike with a high pressure hose or scrub it with anything overly abrasive. Once you’ve cleaned it and rinsed it, dry it with a towel and then keep it in a well ventilated area so that it can air dry the rest of the way.
Unless you know what you’re doing, leave the heavy duty stuff to the pros. All you really have to do is a basic maintenance check. Make sure that your bike’s tires are filled and in good shape, use wax on the frame, seat post, fenders and lube up the chain. Take special care to look for areas on the frame where the paint is chipped and give these extra attention with the wax. Next, remove bike accessories like that wicker basket, bell, water bottle and any other attachments. These items may or may not do well in storage, and they’re simple enough to remove that it’s not worth taking the risk.
Choose the Right Storage Unit
Storing your bike in an actual storage facility will give it the maximum amount of protection, but don’t put it in any old storage unit. Opt for an inside unit over the convenience of a drive-up unit and choose a storage unit with climate control. This is especially important if you’re storing in an area that’s humid or near the ocean, as damp air (especially salty air) can do some serious damage on your bike. When choosing a facility, take the time to ask about security features. Whether you’re a professional cyclist or just a casual cruiser, your bike means a lot to you and you should be storing it at a facility that will keep it safe. A storage facility that takes security seriously will offer features like gated access, good lighting, surveillance cameras, on-site management and a fenced in property. Good locks are crucial too. Just as you’ve probably learned (hopefully not first hand) how easily a cable bike lock can be cut, it’s important that you know how easily padlocks can be cut. Make sure your unit is locked with a disc lock, as they’re basically the u-lock of the storage world.
Follow these steps, and your bike will be ready for you whenever it’s time to ride again!