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Neglecting your bike for too long may become costly

June 19, 2013

If you don’t properly store your bike, a few things could happen to it that may cost you. I’m not going to pretend to know all there is to know about bike maintenance and so I occasionally refer to Sheldon Brown’s website for information, as well as other sites if Mr. Brown’s unbeatable expertise goes over my head. Check out Sheldon Brown’s bike maintenance page right here: http://sheldonbrown.com/tooltips/index.html

So if you’re treating your bicycle much like how someone is treating a very expensive bicycle that was gifted to him and his staff, you might want to dig it out from under all those boxes of Christmas decorations and old 70s leisure suits, grab some cloth diapers, gentle rust remover, or fine steel wool (don’t use that on the frame), chisel off that 2-inch layer of dust, replace the tires, tubes, and possibly even the rim tape, and help make your bike feel better.

If you’re hanging the bike from the rim, the rim will eventually warp. Hang it from a more sturdy part of the bike, like the frame (specifically the top tube), or just park it, making sure nothing else is leaning on it either. Warping can also occur in different places on the bike if you have a bunch of heavy items stored on top of it or beside it. Those heavy items could be loosening and bending some of the more tender moving parts.

If the environment in which it’s being stored is not climate controlled, and most especially if you’re storing it outside, there’s a good chance the frame and other components will begin to rust or at least corrode. Sometimes that can’t be helped and there are ways to store it in a non-climate controlled environment. You can certainly Google information for that type of storage, but I personally suggest storing it somewhere inside your home.

Tires will go bad and begin to rot as well if it is not being stored in a climate controlled environment.

Be sure to check the chain to see if the lube is still good to go. If not, clean the chain well and dry it thoroughly, then lube it up with some fresh stuff. Also, check the chain and make sure that it’s not too loose or sagging. If it is, repair it. If it’s too rusty and the rust cannot be removed, replace it.

Make sure all the moving components are working properly and are not corroded and getting stuck. If they are, clean them (you might have to take some of these parts off completely in order to clean them) and see if that makes a difference. If not, they may need to be adjusted or replaced.

Check your brake pads and make sure the rims aren’t rubbing on them and make sure that when you squeeze the levers, the face of the pads are completely touching the rims. If they’re touching the tire, or anything else for that matter, you should get them repaired or replaced.

If your brake levers are too loose and they touch your grips or come really close to touching them, get them tightened.

Keep your bike tires pumped every so often, even if you rarely if ever use the bike, to ensure the rims don’t get warped after sitting on flats for several weeks or months.

Little things like that can really make a difference, so that when you’re ready to ride, or you’re ready to give the bike to someone who will use it, it will be in tip top shape and safe enough to ride.

If you’ve suddenly discovered your bicycle has been sitting all by its lonesome in storage for over a year, it’s beginning to corrode, and you don’t care about that bike in any capacity, just gift it to someone who will take care of it and ride it. Especially if it’s a pretty nice bike and has a lot of potential to be loved by someone else.

It’s certainly better than letting it waste away. Similar to what at least one nice, new, custom bike is doing right now here in Jacksonville. :*(

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