Keeping one’s bicycle functioning and clean in the winter can require more attention than usual, but can also help avoid injury or costly repairs later on. Here are a few tips on how to keep your set of wheels clean and smooth:
1) Start the season with a thorough cleaning and wax – Use a small stiff-bristle brush to rid your bike of all the grime buildup from the fall. Remove the chain and let it soak in a solvent, brushing away any grit that loosens, and hang it up to dry. Lastly wax the frame (this can be bicycle wax or car wax).
2) Every few days – wipe down the frame of any salt, dirt, etc., clean the gears, clean and degrease the chain, then re-lube it, clean the wheel rims and spokes, clean the cranks (q-tips work well). Also, keep a constant look out for cracks in cable housing, which can happen during any season, but when it gets freezing or below it’s even more likely.
3) Every two weeks – Clean and re-grease the stem, seat post and (if you have a crank puller) cranks.
4) At the end of the season – Take your bicycle in for a general tune-up to ensure it continues to get you from point A to point B smoothly.
*Note: The maintenance is even more important if you’re biking through a lot of snow, ice and salt. Luckily we live in Austin!