Trail Talk by Bill Prall: Bicycle Hibernation

Winter has arrived.

For many, the cold and snow will bring on another season of Alpine and Nordic (XC) skiing, something to look forward to. Most bicycles will enter a period of “bicycle hibernation”.

Before you put your bike away for a winter’s sleep there are a few things you should do to be sure it’s ready to go again next spring.

Pump your tires to the full pressure indicated on the tire sidewall. Tires will continually loose pressure sitting over the winter, so put them to bed with full tire pressure. You will still need to pump them back up to your desired pressure before you ride again.

Put a light coat of chain lube on the chain, wiping off all outside lube. This will help to ward off any potential rust. The lube that counts is the lube that gets into the rollers and rivet pins of the chain. Excess exterior lube only picks up dirt and debris. Centrifugal force throws off the chain’s excess lube and it usually coats the gears, the spokes and out to the wheel rim – not good for caliper-type rim brakes.

Then there’s good old WD-40, which is really a solvent, not a lubricant. But there is one thing I like to use it for on bicycles. If you spray a light bead of WD-40 on the frame tubes, or a rag, and wipe the painted frame tubes you will remove dust, dirt, and grime. Plus, it will restore that beautiful paint color. A good wiping will remove any remaining solvent.

I like to use a simple inexpensive clear silicone spray with the straw type nozzle to shoot a little lube into the derailleur, brake and shift lever pivot points and into cable housings where the metal gear or brake cable inner wires live. This is a good practice to keep shift and brake parts moving freely.

If you can hang your bike by the rim on a bike hook in your garage or basement, that is perfect. If you have to leave it parked on the floor, just be sure you have the tires pumped to maximum pressure to avoid any tire sidewall cracks.

Do these things and your bike will love you and be ready to ride again in the Spring.