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Illustration by Douglas Scott
If you need to store your summer bike (or your only bike), here are a few pointers for protecting your resting steed.
Before You Store
• Wipe down your bike with a soft-bristled brush and then a rag to remove debris and any remaining dirt or grime. Check for any cracks or signs of metal fatigue.
• Bring your bike in for a tune-up before the winter season begins. When spring rolls around, you can avoid tune-up lines and be ready to ride your bike after inflating the tires.
• If storing in an unheated garage, public storage building or on an apartment balcony, be sure to lubricate the chains and cables. If you have a steel-framed bike, pre-treat it to avoid rusting.
• Inflate your tires before storing or bring them inside for the winter months. You could also store your bike upside down to reduce pressure on the tires.
• Have a lock ready to secure your bike.
Apartment storage lockers can be a great place to store your bike if you don’t have room in your place, but be sure to lock up the front and back wheel to the frame and the frame to a secure post or rack to prevent theft. Take all removable parts: lights, saddle, fenders, bell, etc. up to your apartment.
Sometimes there is no other option. Be sure to lock your bike to your balcony rails and cover it with a tarp to protect it from the elements. Strip your bike of all removable and delicate parts, such as leather seats, and store them indoors.
A basement that is safe and climate-controlled is a good place to store your bike. Make sure to avoid direct sunlight by placing your bike away from windows. Check the tire pressure every few weeks to prevent flat spots from developing in your tires.
Consider hanging your bike to keep pressure off the tires and covering it with a bike tarp to keep moisture out.
If you have no room at home, paid storage is a great option. Not only are paid storage lockers usually climate-controlled, they are more secure than leaving your bike outdoors or in an apartment storage locker.