Bicycle Mechanics - How to protect bikes from the elements near the Pacific Ocean
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08-31-08, 10:37 PM
We live about a mile from the pacific ocean in San Francisco, and suffer from extensive fog year round. We will soon need to store our bikes outside in a shed, but I'm told that humidity and condensation will infiltrate most plastic or wooden sheds on the market, and this would gradually rust out our bikes. One gentleman suggested putting a 25 watt light in the shed, leave it on, and this modest amount of heat would somehow help reduce the moisture condensation/infiltration, etc. Not sure if this will work...Has anyone already invented this "wheel" and would you mind sharing your insights?
Many thanks in advance...
08-31-08, 11:00 PM
A 25W bulb will help keep the moisture out of sealed enclosures like old refrigerators or freezers but I am not sure it would work in a leaky wooden or plastic shed. Frequent washings and at least one complete tuneup each year will probably help keep the salt residue off. Make sure the bike shop puts anti-seize on all the metal joints and fasteners to reduce corrosion.
09-01-08, 08:16 AM
One (expensive) solution is to buy Titanium frames. Ti is impervious to water or salt water corrosion.
Other than that, treat the insides of all the tubes of steel framed bikes with Weigel's Frame Saver or Amsiol HDMP, keep the exterior surfaces clean and waxed with a good automobile wax and keep the components, particularly the chain well lubed. A Wippermann stainless steel chain may be a worthwhile investment.
I agree on the need to be certain all threaded fasteners, the seat post and the stem are well greased or assembled with anti-seize.
A small space heater will be more efficient than a 25W lightbulb at keeping the storage shed dry but will take more energy to run.
09-01-08, 08:57 AM
The 25 watt bulb comes from the boating people. At Huntington Harbour, the homes with the boat slips, we do the same and it works. The sailing type boats have cabins that are not air tight and moisture does get in. There's quite a bit of teak wood on those boats and inside the cabin, that light bulb works.
09-01-08, 05:54 PM
Boats use Stainless Steel and other specialty fasteners and equipment made for that environment unlike bikes.
09-01-08, 07:46 PM
If the shed has some air circulation but doesn't blow through like crazy then a 25 to 60 watt bulb will keep things inside just enough warmer than outside to avoid condensation. It doesn't need to be up to normal room temperature, it only needs to be warmer than the outside air by a few degrees so you don't get condensation occuring.
Now this will only work if the floor is raised and sealled from the moisture below and ideally the walls should be of wood for some insulative value. If it's just aluminium siding directly on framing like I've seen in one shed I doubt the bulb trick will work until the shed is insulated.
09-01-08, 07:48 PM
I feel your pain. I live just south of you in Pacifica and our older bikes get rust even in the garage (about 1/4 mile from the ocean)!
09-02-08, 05:23 AM
I think that, although good storage is important, cleaning your bikes on a regular basis is of greater benefit regardless of whether you ride them or not. This removes salt build-up (happens regardless - trust me I live in Auckland, NZ), then treat the frame to some silicon love. Products such as Pedro's Bike Lust give a protective coating that give you a fighting chance.
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