Whether you ride it to work every day or you just take it to the neighborhood park every now and then, your bike has probably been exposed to harsh weather conditions, road debris, sweat, spilled beverages and more.
With everything your trusty bike endures, you can do better than simply leaning it in a dank corner of the garage for a few months. Find out how to properly store your bike and give it the TLC that will keep it in great condition so it’s ready for your next ride.
Lubricate, Clean and Inflate
Whether you’re storing a bike for a few weeks or for a year, getting rid of dirt and gunk is the first step to take before placing it into storage.
“Give it a quick cleaning, lubricate the chain, and inflate the tires to their recommended pressure,” said Levi Bloom, a certified coach for USA Cycling.
When cleaning your bike, apply gentle water pressure and a mild soap with a large sponge. To lubricate the chain, start by using a degreaser to remove the old lube before you apply a new layer.
Use a Bike Box
With their large, bulky frames, bikes can be a challenge to put away, especially if you’re low on space. Whether you’re storing a bike in your home or in an off-site storage unit, you can give yourself more room by packing your bicycle in a bike box.
“This will save space and protect the bike from scratches and dings,” said Bloom.
Keep in mind that using a bike box requires you to disassemble parts of the bike, so be ready with a few simple tools and some packing materials.
Not sure where to find a bike box?
“Just ask the local bike shop. Most of them have stacks of cardboard bike boxes waiting by the recycling bin,” Bloom added.
Choose the Right Environment
Even if you get a bike box, it’s still vital to protect your bicycle by storing it in an optimal environment. Avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, which could cause materials on the bike to fade.
You should also aim for temperature stability and, most importantly, moisture control. Storage in an area with too much moisture can cause a number of problems.
“Leather seats and handlebar tape and grips will get covered in mildew otherwise,” Bloom pointed out.
Bikes with steel frames are also at risk of rusting and corroding, so Bloom recommended applying WD-40 to the inside of the frame to prevent damage.
Protect Cycling Equipment
Most cycling equipment is fairly easy to store and doesn’t require special preparation.
The one piece of equipment that’s an exception is your helmet, which needs to be kept in the proper condition to remain safe.
“Keep your helmet cool, dry, away from sunlight, and preferably in its own box,” advised Bloom.
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