Despite the recent unseasonably warm weather, winter is coming into clear view and autumn fast disappearing in the rear view mirror. Now is the perfect time to make sure your bike is in tip-top condition.
The UK winter throws all kinds of horrible weather at us with rain, wind, hail, sleet and snow often landing on us in one day. This mishmash of conditions means that cycling on the roads can be challenging if your bike is not properly maintained.
These six tips from our friends at Raleigh Bikes will help keep your ride safely on the road:
- Keep it clean – it’s important that you clean off mud and salty water regularly which together can corrode and wear down the movable bike parts.
- Get a grip – tyres are the most important part of the bike and take the most punishment. Punctures are a constant threat, and in winter, there’s nothing worse than mending a puncture at the side of a road on a cold, wet evening with frozen fingers. Good winter tyres like the Schwalbe Durano DD provide superb puncture protection and have good tread and traction characteristics for all winter conditions.
- Lubricate – after you’ve washed it, lubricate the chain so that it moves smoothly through the gears and over the cogs. WD40’s bike range will help you clean and lubricate your bike.
- Get bright – be seen by other road users with some strong lights on the front and back of the bike, have a look at Moon’s great range of lights. Marry this with bright clothing that is warm, water proof and has reflective strips, jackets like the Lusso Windtex Aero+ are perfect for the winter rider.
- Get it serviced – if you feel comfortable doing this, check that everything is running smoothly paying particular attention to the brakes, gears and chain set. If this isn’t your thing, take it to your local bike shop where they’ll be able to service it cheaply and quickly.
- Stop the splash – there’s more water on the roads in winter and if you don’t want to cover yourself and your fellow cyclists in spray when on the move then fitting mudguards will solve the problem. If your bike doesn’t have fittings for conventional mudguards then a Crud Race Guard can be fitted to many bikes.
Once you’ve got your bike winter ready, keep on top of it; regular checks on the condition of the brakes, gears, wheels, tyres and chain set is required as the wet and salty conditions will quickly cause problems.