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If you are anything like me you like to jump from one thing to the next. Seasons change quickly in Vermont and it’s easy to forget about your bike and grab your snowboard as soon as the first snowflakes fly. Your first turns of the season will help you forget all about how muddy your last bike ride was. Inevitably spring rolls around and your desire for biking is pounding and you're ready for a ride, but you pull your bike and notice, you could have done things a little better last fall. It creaks, it squeaks, and it's way too dirty to show up at the trailhead for your first ride of the year. You decide to take it to your local bike shop and bam, they have a 2+ week wait for repairs and tuneups. Don’t let that happen!
Here are some tips for properly putting your bike away for the winter so that you can jump right back on it on the first nice spring day without all the waiting and guilt.
Cleaning your bike and looking for mechanical issues in the fall will prolong the life of its moving parts and save you time in the spring when everyone is heading to the shop to get it fixed up for that first nice day of riding. You don’t need to be a bike wizard to give your bike a proper clean and lube before sending it to the depths of your basement for winter.
If your bike is REALLY muddy you can start with the hose, but don’t put it away wet. Be sure to dry your bike off with a dry rag.
Clean the dirtiest parts first:
Next use the cleaner on the rest of the bike:
Once your bike is all clean and wiped down, give it a quick inspection to see if anything should be looked at by a bike shop if you are not comfortable fixing things yourself like me.
If you find anything that seems like it isn’t right, the fall/winter season is a great time to go to a bike shop for advice or a tuneup. Most are not as busy as they are in the spring/summer season and there are often deals and incentives to take advantage of.
When your bike is all cleaned up and everything seems to be in great working order don’t forget to store it in a dry place that has no hazards of dripping water or excess moisture. You spent hard-earned money on that bike, treat it how it deserves to be treated!
Now that you know how to properly put away and store your bike(s) for the winter, go do it! Seriously though, it's not too late and you’ll be glad you did it in the spring. Whenever you have a question don’t be afraid to reach out to your local bike shop. Park Tool also has a lot of great “how to” videos on their website that are a nice resource especially if you want to do it yourself. Now go and enjoy the snow!
Photos courtesy of Kayla Henry.