Bicycle Mechanics - Winter Storage
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10-27-10, 04:30 PM
Winter biking is not on our agenda here in Alaska, so I've built a shed for winter storage. Lately my wife is reluctant to store here triath bike out there, though it's covered, dry, locked and safe from weather - except low temps. I can't convince her that metal and rubber can withstand temps to -40 with no problem. There's nothing fancy about a bike - it's a machine, doesn't experience wind-chill, won't shiver, doesn't require a heated blanket.... Anyway, the garage is full of bikes, I can't park there. Any thoughts on cold, dry, outdoor sheltered storage for bikes?
Cold is GOOD for storage, slows chemical reactions (=ageing) right down. Dry is also (mostly) good. Most corrosion is one way or another "fueled" by moisture, so the lesser the better. Leather items might stiffen up, but rubbers won't be much affected.
If you want to be thorough, store the bike in a way that hasn't got it standing on the tires. Tires will lose air over time, and IMO the sharp folds you get in flat tires isn't good for them. Checking the pressure every now and the works too.
If you want to take it even further, look at ventilation and temperature cycles. A shed that gets hit by sun will se more of a temperature variation day/ night than one that sits in the shade. Temp cycling will introduce small stresses particularly where dissimilar materials are joined. Also, slower temperature changes reduces the risk of condensation. A certain amount of air circulation is good. Throwing a dust cloth (an old sheet etc) over a cherished item is OK, but a tarp might not be that clever. All dependent on how dry it actually is of course.
I store my 2 summer bikes in similar conditions for winter. I use purpose made hooks that have the bike hanging from its front rim. No worries, but I don't have anything hydraulic, so I don't have to consider whether any fluids are prone to freezing, whether lines need bleeding etc.
Winter bike stays outside for winter, and hangs on the storage wall during summer. Winter riding is on our agenda here in Finland. :D
10-28-10, 10:25 AM
I agree with the need to hang the bike up. You don't really want flat tires sitting for that long with the weight of the bike on the folds. Other than that as long as you're sure that the "inbetween" times won't result in condensation in the shed it's a great place to put the bike.
As BCRider said is isn't the cold that's an issue but the dampness. If you built the shed in an area that gets sunlight part of the day it should do fine. The sun will warm the shed above the surrounding temperature, and drive moisture out.
Otherwise, if dampness is a concern you can run some power out to the shed and burn a 100w incandescent bulb for an hour a day as a cheap dehumidifier.
10-28-10, 11:33 AM
I would think that you might be able to hang the bike from the ceiling in the garage. If not, I would put it outside with the caveats above in mind. The tires might not be helped with Spring freeze/thaw cycles. You might go so far as to remove the tires/tubes. I'd probably wrap it in plastic. Whatever benefit might accrue from being able to "breathe" is probably less helpful than simply keeping bugs, dust and dirt from getting in and around the bike. The cold isn't going to be any issue but keeping your car outside during an Alaskan Winter is crazy. (I'm an Alaskan too)
10-30-10, 06:36 PM
+1 on the hanging
I'm in Minnesota where we've been know to have a cold winter once in a while.
For what it's worth, I've been trying to store bikes in a place that does not experience temp swings which pass through the dew point. Cold items at some temperature will collect moisture from air in the form of condensation or frost, which causes oxidation. Here, at least, my table saw in an unheated, dry shed gets light oxidation every winter. Bikes stored for years in dry barns get destroyed by surface oxidation. My garage gets humid and the floor gets wet as the air warms in the spring just from condensation on the cold floor, which is below the dew point. These are all issues I didn't have when I lived in a warmer climate (Oklahoma, Utah and Idaho), but might be an issue in Alaska.
I think a dry basement or spare heated room might be better because the bike doesn't pass through the dew point.
Or maybe I'm crazy. :-)
10-30-10, 08:21 PM
I didn't really key in on the triath...part...and I would agree that it's crazy to keep an expensive bike like that outside through a Winter. I was just talking about this with a friend at a spinning class. I live in AK and would not keep a serious bike outdoor through a Winter when there is thaw/freeze for many day/night cycles and condensation adds an ugly potential for damage. If you have no choice, and the bike is valuable, I'd probably go so far as to wrap it in plastic wrap, seal it up, then hang it up. But if there was ANY place I could keep a good bike indoors through a Winter, I would do that. Our garage is heated and we have a large bike rack for our bikes in the garage. Ceiling hooks with a simple pulley system to pull the bikes up to the ceiling is a great solution for many people. I think you can even buy a little kit so you don't have to gather the parts.
10-31-10, 05:31 PM
My garage humidity in winter is off the charts - snow melts from every nook & cranny of a vehicle onto the heated floor, then condenses as icing on the window. It's a much worse spot to store bikes than my dry but cold shed. Thanks to all who commented, it'll help me clear out the garage and regain my parking spot for the winter!
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