When it comes to storing a bike safely, let’s start with the obvious: Don’t leave it outside. Storing your bike outside subjects it to weather and potential theft. If you’re going to keep it at home, make sure you have a safe spot indoors for it.
We’re going to cover several topics important to storing a bike, whether you want to keep it at home or in long term storage, so read on.
Cleaning Your Bike
When you’re out riding your bike, it’s bound to get dirty. Over time, dirt and debris can damage the paint, spokes, gears, and other components. The good news is that it’s fairly easy to clean a bike.
You’ll need a bucket, sponge, scrubbing brush with stiff bristles and a degreasing solution. Get a little bit of dish soap in the bucket and fill it with hot water.
Spray the degreaser on the chain while turning the pedals. You can spray it on the gears as well. You don’t need a lot of degreaser.
While the degreaser works, rub down the bike with the sponge and the hot, soapy water. Start from the top. The dirty water will drip down onto the dirty bike, and as you work your way down, you’ll get those parts clean, and the dirty water will end up on the ground. Rub it all down well and get in the grooves. The brush can help with this. Use plenty of soapy water on the body of the bike. Next, remove the wheels and set them aside. Clean the spots that you couldn’t reach with the wheels on, including the brake pads. Next, scrub the wheels and spokes with the hot water and sponge.
Get back to the areas where you used degreaser by first scrubbing them with the wet brush to loosen the grime, then washing them down with the sponge. Rinse the bike off with a hose, dry with a towel, then let it air dry. Once it is dry, it's ready for storage.
Your Storage Unit
If you put your bike in self storage, we encourage you to get a unit with climate control. Bicycles have delicate machinery, and climate control protects against heat and humidity as well as cold and dry conditions.
You can give your bike an extra bit of protection with a bike cover. Get one that is contoured to your bike. It should have elastic straps to secure it all around. Bike covers are made to keep bikes free of dust and dirt, and over time a storage unit can get dusty. They also protect against bugs. While self storage facilities do all they can to keep out pests, it doesn’t hurt to keep your bike doubly protected.
Storing your bike on a rack inside your storage unit is ideal—especially if you’re storing multiple bikes. You can use a wall-mounted rack and store your bike vertically, a free-standing rack on the ground, a gravity bike stand, which leans against the wall using the weight of the bikes to keep it in place or a floor stand, which consists of a pair of parallel, vertical slats where you insert the front wheel.
If you can’t put rack in your storage unit, it’s fine to use your bike’s kickstand.
Whether you’re storing your bike for the winter or because of a move, these steps will help keep it in great shape. Need tips on how to store something else? We have plenty of helpful articles!