Q&A: Putting the baby to bed

What's the best way to store my baby [bike] during the winter?

Q: As the rain lashes against the window and doesn’t look any better for the weeks ahead, I am getting out on my road bike less and less. Is there anything I can do to help store my road bike over winter? I normally hang it on two wall-mounted brackets with foam along the top-tube – is it okay to store carbon like this for weeks on end? Should I add more than the usual amount of oil to the chain over the winter months? Also, is it worth letting the tyres down? I’ve heard that it can help to put it into the small front ring… And don’t worry, I still commute on the singlespeed into Bath each day along the canal path come rain or shine. Let’s hope the winter is drier than the summer! 

Steve B

A: I don’t see any problem with storing your machine this way, but I would leave the tyre pressures exactly as they are – being off the ground is usually enough. I hang my machines by their wheels for reasons of space and convenience, but just make sure that there’s nothing (such as paint tins and the like) that could fall on your bike when it’s in storage. 

Give the bike a good wash first and dry it thoroughly. Alloy components benefit from a light application of Turtle Wax, and a liberal application of PTFE type lube to your control cables should keep them happy (placing a card underneath exposed cables prevents it dribbling all over the frame). Assuming you are storing the bike in a dry room/workshop there should be no need to apply any more oil than usual, but if in doubt, give the chain a degrease and then oil each link with a heavier weight lube such as Bullshot (£2.99, from www.ison-distribution.com), wiping off any excess. 

Hanging your bike by the rear wheel may enable you to use a storage cover (Topeak does a hardy one for £29.99 from www.extrauk.co.uk) to guard against dust, UV light and prying eyes possibly… Regarding your winter mount – assuming it is steel or aluminium, remove the seatpost and give the frame a good internal application of Framesaver or Waxoyl (the latter is available from Halfords and the like for about £7). This will prevent any internal corrosion. Equally, a couple of teaspoons of heavier grade motor oil sloshing around the tubes is a reasonable substitute. Fit mudguards and grease the seatpost well  I make a rubber boot from old inner tube and fit over the seatpost collar as extra protection, essential if not running a rear guard.

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