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Winter Bike Check

posted 20 Oct 2014, 09:29 by Kevin Monaghan   [ updated 29 Oct 2015, 16:23 ]
(By Steve Franzoni)      
Winter Cycling in the snow
As we move into the dark winter days here is a list of ideas to help keep your bike and you in good 
condition through the winter. Roadside problems are exaggerated in the winter due to the cold and wind. A simple puncture that stops you for five minutes can leave you and your colleague’s extremely cold and a long way from home.  Here are some simple practical tips:

1. Fit full mudguards to your bike this will keep your posterior dry and also keep your fellow cyclists happy and their faces clean.

2. Fit as least a rear flashing light. Use this even during the day when light is bad. Understand the LED flashing lights do not work in fog.

3. Regularly check your tyres for wear, as the roads are greasy in the winter it is easy to take a fall on tyres that are worn. Overly worn tyres are also prone to punctures. This can be especially unpleasant for you and everyone else on a cold wet winters ride as you fix your third or fourth puncture of the day (a quick way to loose friends or end up on your own).

4. Consider the new breed of fast rolling puncture proof tyres. Traditionally puncture proof tyres sacrifice rolling resistance but most importantly traction and grip.

5. Make sure your bike is well serviced and everything well oiled and greased.

6. Take a close look at your winter bike and make sure it is set up the same as your super nice and expensive summer bike. Riding all winter on a bike not set up correctly could cause pain and discomfort. It may lead to long term problems as well.

7. If you’re looking at winter bikes consider one of the new age big clearance ones that accept a full surround mudguard. This will keep your bike cleaner and stop the winter grime working its way into the brakes and bearings. A good investment in the long run.

8. After wet and muddy rides try to clean the bike as soon as possible with a light pressure hose or bucket and brush. Dry it off and apply oil to ward off rust. Avoid de-greasers where possible mainly because surprise, surprise, they degrease.

9. If you are a turbo trainer slave be tentative to tyre wear. As the tyre becomes flattened by the trainers it also becomes dangerous for cornering

10. Make sure your saddle bag or back pocket is well equipped. Not having the basic spare tube and tyre levers could leave you stranded on the road side in the cold or even dark.

11. Pump tyres before every ride, a deflated tyre is far more prone to punctures due its flatter contact surface. Use less pressure on damp days to get more grip (almost a contradiction I know). Between 90psi and 110psi depending on your weight should be sufficient.

12. Keep an eye on brake pads. Wet conditions quickly wear brake pads and leave you with far less stopping power.

13. Most importantly and never forget ... if you're not sure about any of these, head into your local friendly bike shop for some advice HA HA.

These basic ideas should help keep your winter cycles more pleasant for you and your fellow cyclists.
Long Rear Light