Not only can winter cycling be a psychological challenge for the most stoic of riders, it can also be unkind to your bicycle. Rain, mud, grit and road salt may clog up your drivetrain and start to wear down the components. No matter; we caught up with Gordon the Mechanic in our Edinburgh Bruntsfield shop to ask him for his top winter bicycle maintenance tips. Here’s what he said:
- Wash the bike at least once a week.
- If you clean your bike regularly it should only take five or ten minutes to clean it – especially if you have access to a hose (but be wary of pressure washers that can blast the grease out of your bearings).
- It’s not essential but a bike cleaner like this makes it quicker and easier to clean your bike more thoroughly.
- Dry the bike off with a rag, as a wet bike only attracts dirt.
- Now your bike is clean, check the brake pads for wear.
- If you have rim brakes, check the pads for shards of embedded grit and metal that can score the rims.
- Keep an eye on the chain and make sure it’s lubed to prevent rust.
- A wet lube like this will hang on longer.
- A dry lube like this will be cleaner (pick up less grime) but you might need to spray it on every day.
- Keep your tyres up to recommended pressure (sorry if this sounds like we’re stating the obvious but a large proportion of the customers’ bikes we’re asked to check over have underinflated tyres.)”
So there you have it, 10 easy-to-follow steps by the man who’s seen it all. A little regular maintenance every week is worth a lot more than a big overhaul every few months.
MECHANIC’S PICK: MUC-OFF BIKE CLEANER £10.99
A legend since it first appeared in the early 1990s, Muc-Off was the first spray-it-on rinse-it-off bike cleaner most of us ever used. It remains the go-to bike cleaner for most riders: first, because it works so well: second, because Muc-Off continuously develop their formula and keep on top of developments in bike technology.
MUC-OFF WET LUBE £7.99
An eco friendly, ultra-durable bike chain lube created specifically for long distances in wet or muddy conditions.
Can’t be bothered to clean your bike yourself? Help is at hand if you live near one of our shops. We can usually offer same day or next day bike fixing and cleaning at this time of year – just call us on 0131 331 5010 to book your bike service at the branch of your choice.
BONUS TIP: CHECK YOUR LIGHTS
Check your lights at the end of the ride.
Some LED bike lights run for ages on the alkaline batteries they come supplied with. This is a great thing but it has the drawback that you barely notice any gradual deterioration in output. This is compounded by the fact that the light appears bright when you switch it on. However, once the battery juice runs low, the light will get dimmer after just a few minutes, so they should be replaced.