Winterising your bike – Riding – BIKEmagic.
Still want to ride your bike through the snow and ice? Here are some pointers
As sub-zero temperatures embrace the country one might think riding a bike would be low down the list of priorities, right under stocking up with tinned food and buying de-icer for the car. Far from it in fact, mountain biking in the snow is one of the most exciting thrills and, with it being such a rare thing in the UK, something to be taken whenever the opporutnity arises.
While it’s clearly straightforward to getting out on your local trails in the snow, there are a few steps to make the ride that little easier and more enjoyable. There’s also the potential damage to your pride and joy all that snow, ice and road grit can do to think about.
So here are a few important steps to take before you head outdoors.
Keep your bike clean
If you are going to ride your bike in this weather, with snow and road salt a constant menace, you’ll need to clean your bike after every ride to keep it working nicely. All that salt, snow and ice can quickly bring your transmission and other working parts, so regular cleaning will prevent rapid deterioration.
A mud-specific tyre with wide spaced knobs will give better traction in snow. For riding on ice there’s nothing for it but to invest in some proper spiked tyres, such as those pictured to the left.
Your current tyres will probably be fine (unless you’re running some summer semi-slicks) but letting some air out can increase traction. Tubeless setups can allow a lower pressure with less risk of a puncture. Depending on the conditions, look to ride with between 20-30 psi, and experiment to find the best setting.
Lube your chain
Choose a lube designed for wet weather conditions, as any oil can quickly and easily be washed off the chain when riding through deep snow and slush. To ensure your bike runs smoothly, make sure to lube the chain before and after each ride.
There’ll undoubtedly be a lot of snow and slush being thrown up into the air and much of it will land on your body, which as anyone who has experienced this will know is very unpleasant. So stay warm and dry with a set of front and rear mudguards.
Treating those components likely to rust quickly with a corrosion preventative such as ACF50 will make sure your bike lasts the winter, and that under the encrusted dirt lies a gleaming, unsullied machine just waiting for the restorative flush of hot, detergent-filled water.
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