This has been a good year at the bike shop. We saw lots of folks come through our giant graffitied garage door and ride out with a working bike. But when the weather turns and people spend less time on their bikes, we know its time to hit the pause button and look forward to spring.
But not everyone spends less time on their bike during the cold months of the year. There are those that keep hammering through the cold and snow. They still need to maintain their bikes. In fact, they may have more maintenance needs through the winter than they do in the summer. The most notorious culprit is probably the salt they pour on the roads throughout the winter.
Part of why it’s so bad is that people don’t realize that it’s even on their bike. If it were caked on mud that covered the bottom half of your bike, you’d clean it off because it would be so obvious. But the salt is basically invisible. Couple that with the fact that the last thing folks want to do is wash their bike after a commute when its cold and dark when they leave in the morning and cold and dark when they get home. The easiest solution is to actually get a second, burner bike. Something that you are going to feel comfortable leaving caked in salt if it means you are going to be ridding more. Unless you have lots of hills, a single speed is nice since derailleurs can get clogged with ice, and the less moving parts the better. Also a mountain bike is better to ride with slippery roads. You can run the tires at a lower pressure giving yourself a bit more traction. The ridding position is less aggressive too.
OK, this post is getting away on me. All I was going to tell you was to check out Sheldon Brown’s website for bike info while the shop is in hibernation, and I started getting into winter ridding.
Sheldon Brown was a bit of a bike god when comes to understanding both the basics of the bicycle and the intricacy that most people might never know about. He was also wonderfully quirky and had a variety of interests, many of which are on his website. Unfortunately Sheldon passed away in 2008, but the site itself is now maintained by his friends and co-workers.
Thank you so much Sheldon, and the folks who keep this extremely valuable information available and updated.
Here is the main page.
This is the technical bike info.