Monday, October 24, 2011

Old Man Winter is coming; be ready.

Well it has been a whirl wind summer, with lots of ups and very few downs. Our dear friend Joel is in another country climbing a mountain that has never been climbed with our local superhero Mark Jenkins. Pedar and I are holding down the fort....okay so Pedar is holding down the fort and I am trying not to get in his way. 

Speaking of Pedar, I had one of the best night rides of my entire life with him and Dan the Man from Cross Country Connection the other night.  It was an Giant Anthem ride, no offense to those of you who ride other bikes, we just prefer the superior suspension of the Maestro rear suspension.  (I learned product placement from the Biggest Loser.)  On the ride I had the pleasure of following Pedar's track.  I was moving out, thinking to myself, "Wow self, you are keeping up with Pedar."  Then, he turned to me and smiled, and like the moment in Christmas Vacation when Clark takes off down the ski hill on the sled with the new non caloric silicon kitchen lube,....poof, he was gone.  It is always awesome to see someone who is the master of his craft at work.  Thanks for that Pedar.

Which leads me to the purpose of this post....riding your bike in the winter.  We are about to be hit by a huge snowstorm.  Epic.  Ski people rejoice, it is your season.  For the rest of us, we will have to find ways to keep our bicycles functional in and on the road. 
This is not the way.  BUT, if you have to keep your bicycle outside in the winter, by all means, keep it lubed.  I recommend two very solid types of lubrication, both available at the Pedal House.  1. Tri-Flo.  It kicks booty and is highly effective.  2. Finish Line wet lube.  It is a little thicker but it is a fantastic lubrication that I use on my personal bicycles.  Either way you have a winner.  If these options are not for you, just make sure that you have a Teflon based lubrication in the winter to help keep the rust away, and for goodness sake, don't use WD-40.  It isn't a lube, it is a cleaner.  It will actually do the opposite for your bicycle.

When lubing your chain, start by adding small amounts of lubrication to each link on your chain.  Lube doesn't need to be on the outside plates, just the bushings.  After it sits for 15 or 20 minutes, wipe it down so that it doesn't collect dirt and grime. 

Also, keeping your bicycle clean helps it run better in tough conditions.  Use dish soap and water; scrub it down with soft brushes, (available at the Pedal House) and hose it down.  Don't use high pressure wands from the car wash as they can mess with pivots and bearings.  Be patient and clean it like you would a five month old baby. 

For more maintenance tips come to the clinics hosted by the Pedal House.  November 3rd, there is a free Tire Changing Clinic, and on November 17th, we have a Basic Maintenance Clinic for those of you who need a nice, comfortable environment to learn the basics about bicycle care and maintenance.  This two hour clinic is $35, and includes a question and answer section to help new riders get personalized instruction on his/her bicycles. 


  1. So I don't keep my bike outside in the winter (or in the summer either - I have a folding bike, so it can live in my closet when I'm not riding), but I do have a question about WD-40. While I don't keep my bike outside, I do occasionally have to lock it outside. And once I did, and it was very very cold, and my brakes actually froze. Later, someone recommended to me to use WD-40 up on the brakes, since as a water displacer, it will actually help to melt the ice. I haven't had to try it since this happened, but does WD-40 help to unfreeze frozen brakes?

  2. Chris,
    That is a great question, and one we have encountered before. It is true that WD-40, or Water Displacer-40 (the 40th attempt at making a good water displacer) will displace ice. However, it also has enough viscosity that if it gets on your brake pads and rims it will reduce the friction required to stop your bicycle...espcially in the winter time. Instead, what I would do ahead of time is remove your brake arms (assuming they are v-brake or canti-lever) and clean the bosses - the part of the frame or the fork that the brake arm is attached to. WD-40 is a great cleaner to use to do this. Also, clean out the hole in the brake arms that slide over the boss. WD-40 works for this too. Don't get any on the pads or the rim. If you have mechanical disc you may need new cables and housing. Basically, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And in this case, it is a lot safer too.