Nah, Don’t Pamper It.
But, by all means, please take good care of it.
If you are brave enough to take on the streets during winter time on your bicycle, you will absolutely be brave enough to take the steps to make sure your bike keeps on working and doesn’t get lost in the excuse-not-to-ride shuffle.
Most cities, Denver included, spray stuff on the roads to make them less icy. While this is a great thing for your tires sticking, it is awful for your chain.
1. Wipe off your chain consistently. After it gets wet and/or salty, wipe it down. After it is dry, you can assess whether you need to add more lube. Lube is only needed when it is gone. It is only gone when your “dry” chain no longer looks “sweaty”.
2. Wipe off your bike, too. To emphasize the chain being wiped off, we will mention it again. Wipe off the whole bike, including your chain. This doesn’t need to be a crazy cleaning, but dry it off a bit. This will also increase your pride in ownership.
Fully pumped up tires are great because they minimize rolling resistance so you can get where you are going quickly. Checking your tire pressure on your bike (at the very least) weekly for fat tire bikes and (at the very least) every second ride on your skinny tired bike will help you get your money’s worth out of your tires. But, during the sloppy cold nasty days, we recommend:
3. Don’t pump your tires all the way to max PSI when it is gross out. The lower pressure will give you a slightly better footprint and will help with slippage. By lower pressure we mean no more than 20% under your normal preferred pressure. (Example: your Continental Travel Contacts that go to 80psi, will be pumped up to 64psi)
And lastly, we like to have a place to make our gross selves at home. Maybe the garage, maybe the sun room, maybe your kitchen. Regardless:
4. Go ahead and make a place you can leave your nasty bike. We recommend old carpet pieces. One under each wheel and one underneath your crankset. Or you could just go ahead and get one long piece. It will get gross, but at least it isn’t your floor. Thinking ahead will lead to less frustration later, we think.
Please comment your favorite tips, so that we can steal them and add them onto our list. Okay… okay… we’ll give you credit.