Cycling is not only an earth-friendly and healthy way to get around, it’s fun. There may come a time when you want to store your bike, however, and a storage space is a great place to do that.
For example, if you live in an area with snowy winters, you probably won’t want to ride your bicycle during those months. Or, maybe you’re heading off to college and can’t bring your bike with you, and don’t feel right with it taking up space in your parents’ home.
Here are the steps to take when storing your bike.
Clean Your Bike
Don’t store your bike dirty. That grime can damage the frame, including the paint and metal, leading to rust and worse. Let it go long enough, and not only will it look bad, it will weaken your ride. Yes, bicycles are meant to be rugged, but they’re also meant to be cleaned.
The non-mechanical parts, meaning primarily the seat, frame, wheels, and tires require little more than warm water with mild soap, such as dish soap. Use clean rags or sponges to soap up and scrub these areas. Use a cleaning brush to remove caked-on gunk. Keep the soapy water away from the brakes as much as you can.
The mechanical parts, meaning the chain and various assemblies, need a different sort of attention.
To clean the bike chain, use a clean rag and degreaser. If the chain is especially dirty or gunky, use a chain cleaner to remove thick patches of grime, then rub it clean with degreaser. Next, let the degreaser dry and add several drops of chain lubricant. You can run this through by turning the bike upside down and running the pedals.
Clean the brakes with disc brake cleaner. Rubbing alcohol works well on the rotors. Get some on a clean cloth and wipe them down.
You can also clean the cables and hand breaks with soapy water, but lubricate the moving parts. Again, watch the breaks. Keep the lube off the brake pads.
Once your bike is clean, you may need to tighten various screws and make sure the bike is tuned up. The specifics can vary between models, so check the manufacturer’s manual.
Inflate the tires, too, especially if you plan to store your bike with the tires on the ground. Even after doing this, we recommend going to your storage space once every two weeks to a month to ensure they’re fully inflated. Weather changes and time will deflate your tires. Your bike can wind up with its weight resting on the wheel frames. One they become warped from the pressure, you’ll have to replace the wheels.
Use Climate Control
If you’re storing your bicycle for the winter, choose a space with climate control. This will keep freezing air from quickly deflating the tires. Properties keep the temperature in climate-controlled spaces between 50 and 80 degrees, and the humidity between 30% and 50%, which will keep your bicycle and other belongings in excellent condition.
Use a Bike Rack
There are many types of bike racks, and using one is easier on your bike than leaving it upright on its kickstand. Some racks go on the ground, while others are wall or ceiling mounted.
Ask your storage property if they allow wall or ceiling mounted bike racks and if there’s a certain type they recommend. They may want to install them for you, or may allow you to install them yourself. In either case, these can help mitigate the effects of gravity on your bicycle.
Following these tips, your bike should remain in great condition over the winter or course of your school year and you’ll have fun riding it again when you get it out.