Thanks to contribution from Jessica Gold:
Good news, spring is approaching! At least in the parts of the world where I’m. Even though winter is great in many ways I, and many Swedes with me, look forward to more daylight hours per day. I also welcome the better opportunities to bicycle. So what should you consider before you take the bike out for a ride after a long winter?
I consulted my friend Sebastian Dahlström, a bicycle mechanic since several years, for some tips. To ensure your bike is in full working order after winter storage you may:
1. Check for safety
The first thing you really need to do is to make sure everything is still attached and tightened. Make sure you check all the screws and bolts while paying extra attention to the more important ones – such as the wheel nuts and the screws that attach the handlebar to the rest of the bike. Also check the brakes to make sure that they are still working properly. If you have rim brakes the brake pads
can become dry resulting in a decreased brake performance.
2. Air pressure
Even though tubes are not supposed to let air out they still do. So to prevent those ever annoying flats that so often arise when the bike is coming out again after winter storage, make sure to check the air pressure and the tyre wall for cracks. Tires dry a lot faster when the bike is stored for an extended period of time. For correct air pressure refer to the tyre wall. A good generalisation is that you need to have at least 2.5 bars, but preferably more than 3 bars.
A bike needs lubricants just like any other mechanical product that has got moving parts. The chain is especially important since there might be personal injury if it breaks. Clean it with warm water and a mild detergent. Be very careful not to use a high pressure water hose against any hubs as it may flush out the lube inside the hub. After cleaning the chain, apply lubricant. Make sure it is a Teflon based
lubricant and not some oil that has been sitting in the garage for decades. The nemesis of a bike chain is WD-40 or 5-56, using such a product severely shortens the life length of the bike’s drive train.
Last but not least: If there are any uncertainties at all, consult a technician! A bike is a great way of getting around, but if it is not properly maintained it can be dangerous. So make sure that your bike is thoroughly checked and enjoy riding!