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How to: Winterize Your Bicycle

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Winter is fast approaching here in the Salt Lake Valley, and if you are like the large number of college students whose main form of transportation is bicycle or foot, it can be a hassle to get around. It’s time to prepare your two-wheeled ride for the snow. These simple hacks will make your winter cycling a little easier.

BRAKE PADS

The first thing you need to do to is replace your brake pads. You can get them for less than $10 at any local bike shop or online retailer. Having fresh brakes on your bike is like having good soles on your shoes. The sidewalk can get very icy so when the rubber hits the road, or hits the snow in this case, you have a better chance of staying upright.
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COOKING SPRAY

Cooking Spray isn’t just for the kitchen. Pam spray or coconut oil spray is a cyclists’ best friend in the wintertime. It can be used as an undercoat for a metal frame and cleats, or temporary lube for your chain. It will make wiping off all that sludge and grime much easier. Spraying it on your frame before you go out also gives your bike a buffer from the elements.

TIRE PRESSURE

Checking your bike’s tire pressure is always important, but especially on snow and ice. Invest in a small, portable tire pump that will fit in your pack. When filling your tires, fill them at a slightly lower psi so they are flexible and better in bumpier road conditions. Shoot for somewhere around 70 to 80 for narrow road tires and 50 to 60 for hybrid tires.

STORING YOUR HEADLIGHTS AND TAILLIGHTS

Thanks to good old daylight savings, the sun sets around 5 p.m. in winter months. Being seen is the most important measure you can take, besides wearing a helmet, to protect yourself from accidents or injuries. Most bike lights run on batteries and the cold will zap them of their juice much faster than in the summer. Try storing your lights in your backpack or attaching them to your helmet when you go indoors to maximize the battery life. Reattaching them before you ride can seem like a hassle at first, but so will having to replace your batteries all winter long. Plus, Mother Earth will thank you for it.

Happy cycling winter warriors.

a.winter@wasatchmag.com
Photo by Alaynia Winter

Last modified: February 4, 2017

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