How to Store Bicycles and Gear

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Whether it's your restored Schwinn Sting-Ray with banana seat or the
latest carbon-fiber race bike, all pedal-powered machinery has one
thing in common: It wants to be used frequently. Extended storage will
make it ill-tempered and balky. But there are a few tricks that will
keep your two-wheeled friend content during a seasonal layoff.

  • Oil the chain and sprockets. This is the single biggest problem area for stored bikes. Use a special chain lube, available from a bike shop, or any lightweight machine oil. Spin the pedals and shift through the gears to distribute the oil thoroughly.

  • Wipe the bike down with a rag. Look for dirt caked around the derailleurs, brakes, and bottom bracket (where the pedals attach to the frame).

  • Inspect brake and shift cables for broken strands. If you find any, it's time for a professional tune-up. There's no harm in waiting until next season, but tape a reminder note to the bike.

  • Install large, rubber-coated ceiling hooks in your garage to hang the bike. For a garage with a low ceiling, one hook installed in a corner will hold a bike vertically against a wall.

  • Attach accessory gear, such as your helmet, bike shoes and tool bag, to the bike in a mesh bag so you don't lose it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Inspect the tires when you put the bike in storage. If they're cracked or highly worn, take them off the rims and throw them out. When you're ready to take that first ride next season, you won't be tempted to use them.
  • Cover the bike if it gets direct exposure to sunlight. Ultraviolet rays deteriorate the rubber on the tires, brakes, seat and handgrips.
  • Test the brakes when you take the bike out of storage. If you're not sure about them, have a bike shop take a look.

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