Here at EMBARQ headquarters in Washington, D.C. it’s been unseasonably warm. But that still doesn’t mean we can’t all prepare for winterizing our snow mobiles — our bicycles, that is — for when the snow and slush hit the streets.
Here are four common tips from across the blogosphere this month:
1. Keep your hands warm in bike pogies.
Sometimes, even the thickest gloves fail to keep your grip firm-and-cozy. Try a pair of oversized mittens – called bike pogies – that fit over your handlebars, as well as your shifters and brakes, so you can maintain dexterity and control without losing precious heat. If you have more than one bike, you can always remove and re-attach them as you switch vehicles.
2. Get hardcore with some studded tires and chains.
To avoid the hazards of snow and ice, try a new set of wheels on your mountain bike. Icebike.org recommends studded tires from Nokian, a Finnish brand that offers products made from environmentally friendly “non-toxic” rubber compounds. Though on the pricey side at $50-$100 USD per tire, Nokian studs are made from highly durable tungsten carbide that “last for years,” according to AllWeatherSports.
Putting chains on your wheels can also help improve traction in snow or mud, but beware, because they “give a rough, slow ride on pavement,”AllWeatherSports adds. If you don’t feel like splurging on new equipment, BikePortland.org suggests this do-it-yourself solution: zipties .
3. Cleanse: De-grease, scrub and re-grease your chain.
In the winter months, it’s not just snow, ice and mud that can dirty up your bike. “Actually, the culprit that can cause the most serious problems is: salt!” according to Sustainablog, which recommendsSimple Green as a heavy-duty, non-toxic and biodegradable all-purpose cleaner.
Also, use high-viscosity lubricant on any exposed parts, like the drivetrain, cables and ball bearings. Here are some reviews of “green” oils, cleaners and grease.
4. Keep the rust away.
Riding or storing your bike in the damp cold can lead to extra damage. Paints like Rustoleum™ combat rust on your bike from scratches or dents, says Suite101. Keeping your bike clean will also help guard against corrosion.