It is definitely possible to ride our bikes all year around, spring, summer, fall, and winter and a lot of people successfully do it. So we are reluctant to advise people to stop riding and store their bikes for the winter. But sometimes people get busy and don't have time to ride for awhile or live in parts of the country with extreme cold, ice, and snow that makes it uncomfortable and maybe even unsafe to ride. Since some people are going to hang up their bikes they might as well understand what NOT to do when storing a bike for an extended period of time.
Here are some mistakes that people make when storing a bike for the winter or an extended period of time and what to do about it:
5. Store the bike outside – Allowing a bike to sit outside, even in a covered area such as a porch or an unheated garage, exposes it to moisture and this will accelerate rust of bolts, handlebars, chain, a steel frame and any steel components. Moisture will also dry out lubrication on the components and cables. It will also be exposed to dust, dirt and insects.
Store your bike indoors in a basement or dry garage or a storage room whenever possible. If you are short on space in a house or apartment there are many storage solutions such as brackets for mounting on a wall. If you must store your bike outside, make sure it is covered with a drop cloth and protected from the elements.
6. Fail to secure the bike where it is stored – While it is true that professional thieves can steal anything if they want it bad enough, you want to make sure you do not make it easy to take. Leaving it unlocked in a garage or storage room will increase the risk that someone will break in or pass by, see it unprotected, and steal it.
Always lock your bike with a good bike lock, such as a U-lock or two even when it is indoors. Secure it to a fixed object on the wall or floor. Use multiple technologies, such as a U-lock, cable, or chain, so that the thief has to use different tools to break into it. Don’t forget about your wheels if they have quick release skewers and use either wheel locks or run a cable through them.
By storing the bike properly, it will be ready to ride the first nice day. If you live in a climate where there are a limited number of ideal biking days, you don’t want to waste a single one due to your bike not being in ride ready condition when you want it.
Sharon Kaminecki and others comment on adventures in bicycling and other stories