Winter cycling: Making your bike winter ready

Keeping your bike in good condition all year round

Cycling UK has produced a series of videos with TV presenter Angellica Bell on how to prepare for cycling in colder weather. In this guide Angellica gets advice from Jenni Gwiazdowski, who runs the London Bike Kitchen, on keeping your bike in good condition all through the year

Keep your bike indoors

The number one thing you can do for your bike is keep it indoors. 

Not everyone will be able to do this but if you can – even in a shed – it will prevent rusting and aluminium corrosion. Your bikes will be really happy and the parts will last longer.

Keep your tyres pumped up

This sounds basic but most people don’t do it. There is no such thing as a perfect seal so there are always tiny amounts of air escaping even from a tyre that’s not punctured. You should pump up your tyres about once a month.

Keeping your tyres pumped up to their proper pressure will prevent the dreaded snakebite puncture. The snakebite puncture happens when your tyres are really under inflated and hit a pothole or go off a kerb – that impact results in the rim puncturing the tubing and those two bites. 

So keep your tyres pumped up and save yourself money and time repairing endless punctures.

Clean your bike

This doesn’t have to be a full clean where you drench the bike. It can be just a quick wipe down.

What happens in the winter is that, when the roads get gritted, the salt speeds up corrosion and rusting.

Wipe down the bike frame and undercarriage with a damp rag and a bike-specific cleaner. If you have rim brakes it’s particularly important to wipe them down to get the salt off the rims.

If you want to get a bit more involved, you can also clean your chain. All the dirt from the road gets attracted to it. This is why you don’t want to over oil your chain either; that oil will attract more dirt and grit from the road, and can turn into a sandpaper paste that, when you pedal, grinds away and will wear the parts down faster.

So wipe down the chain, then add a little bit of oil, then wipe that off as well. This will help prolong the life of your chain.

Follow these three simple steps to keep your bike winter ready. And remember, cycling is a great way to stay healthy and active so don’t give up just because winter is here.