How Best to Store Your Bike for the Winter

As we approach September and the colder months ahead, we start wondering about all those summer activities and their equipment and accessories that we will have to put away in self-storage for the season. One of the most universal summer activities is surely riding one’s bike. The freedom of hopping on your two-wheeler and hitting the pavement on your way to whatever outdoor festival, beach, or gathering you are attending can bring us all back to the freedom felt when we first learned how to ride: wind in your hair, asphalt under your tires whizzing by…

Yes: that’s about to go away for the winter – we apologize for this announcement.

But that’s ok – think about all the winter stuff, like toboggans and skates, skis and snowmobiles, that you are about to pull back out of storage and reengage with.

Also, it’s ok to put your bike in storage, because we at Real Storage have compiled the following tips for how best to store your bike for the winter.

Preparation for storage

Before storing your bike for the winter, it is important to give the entire bike a proper cleaning. First, rinse the frame of the bike with a sponge and bucket of water. Do not use a pressure washer though, as this can force water into the bike’s bearings.

Next, spray the bike with a bike cleaner, and let it sit for a few minutes (see the directions on the spray bottle for optimal length). After allowing the solution to do its work, use a soft bristle brush to scrub the bike down.

Using a damp cloth, wipe the rims and brake pads clean, ensuring there is no excess dirt and grime left to erode the brake pad.

For the chain, chainset, cassette, and derailleurs, spray them with a degreaser, and scrub them well (be on the gentle side though with the chainset and derailleurs).

Rinse the frame of any solutions; dry the chain with an old cloth; and then lube the chain and pivot points of the derailleurs.

Cleaning your bike before storing it for the winter is an important step for keeping your bike in optimum conditions. Containments that sit on your bicycle for long periods of time can lead to rust, stiffness, or faded finishes.

Finally, inflate your tires to their maximum PSI to prevent flat spots.

Storage options

With your bicycle prepped for storage, you need a space to house the bike for the winter. Depending on your circumstances, bike(s), and budget, there are a number of options to choose from.

Bike cover

The most economical option available for protective bike storage is a vinyl cover. Portable and versatile, the bike cover will protect your bike from the elements wherever you intend to store your bike. This option does not actually solve your storage problem though – it protects your bike, but you will still need a balcony, backyard, or something similar to house it.

Bike tent

Perhaps the next step up from a cover is a bike tent. Almost as convenient as the cover, the tent can be set up almost anywhere, and taken back down when needed. You will still need to find the space to put up the tent, but this is a good option if you do have the space and are not worried about security issues.

Bike stand

A simple, but limited solution, is the bike stand. This solution overs zero protection from the weather or theft, so you will need to stand your bike in a secure, indoor space, but this is incredibly economical, and if you’ve got the room in your house or garage, then this is likely your best solution.

Outdoor shed

A shed is an excellent option for bike storage. A permanent fixture on your property, the shed offers protection from the weather and theft (if you put a padlock on the shed). If you do not already have a shed, then this option can be on the expensive side, but it can also do more than simply house your bike: other summer tools, such as lawnmowers and gardening tools, can also be stored here.

Garage

If you have one and it isn’t full of cars and other things, then this is the best option for you. Secure and weather protected, the shed is the obvious solution if you live in a house that has one. There are also a few ways to store your bike in your garage.

To save on space in your garage, bike racks can be hung on walls, removing your bike(s) from the floor space. Typically, two or more bikes can be held on a rack.

Similarly, hooks in the wall or on the ceiling of your garage can keep your bike out of the way of your garage’s floor space. When using hooks though, be sure to hang your bike from its frame or tire (not the spokes!), or you could damage your bike.

Another option here is to hoist your bike to the ceiling with a pulley-system, also saving floor space. A pulley-system makes it easier to raise your bike to the ceiling than a hook, and if you get a bit creative, pullies can have a cool look to them as well.

Hooks and hoists can also be used in interesting ways to decorate your house. If your house has high ceilings, then consider hanging your bike inside, creating a unique look with the bike suspended above the room.

Self-storage

If your space is limited, and you feel uncomfortable leaving your bike unprotected in a more public space, then a self-storage unit may be your best solution.

Many unit types and sizes are available to meet your budget, including climate-controlled units, which might be very good options for anyone storing an expensive, pro-level bicycle. Completely protected from the weather and theft, your bike will have its best out-of-season life in self-storage – and the option likely provides you with additional space for items like an air-pump or spare tire, or any other items you could declutter your home with.

Treating your bicycle like you might treat your car is certainly the way to proceed if you want to extend the life of your bike. Going through the process of cleaning and storing your bike for the winter is important, and, when spring arrives a few months later, it is an equally good idea to take your bike in for a tune-up, making sure that it is in optimum conditions for the busy summer of riding ahead.

If you’re looking for self-storage options or advice for your bicycle storage, speak with your Real Storage agent today.