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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 03-03-09, 11:16 AM   #1
Evantron3000
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Locking your bike in the rain

So, I just invested some money in a rear fender for my bike, a waterproof jacket, and some waterproof cycling pants. All this stuff will keep me fairly warm and dry during my wet commutes of the late winter/early spring SF bay area season. However, I realized that if it's raining, I would still be leaving my poor Cannondale out in the rain in certain situations (i.e. work, sometimes school, an the gym). I would like to never use my car unless absolutely necessary, but am just wondering what potential damage could be done to my bike (other than being stolen) if it's constantly being left in the rain. Also, what can I do to better maintain it when I return home from my rides?

I have a Cannondale CAAD3 Road/Cross bike.
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Old 03-03-09, 11:19 AM   #2
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It seems the biggest issue would be wet tape, a junked seat, and rusted chain. But you can trash bag the handlebars, use a QR seatpost to just take the seat with you, and keep the chain oiled well. I just picked up a NIshiki that had been outside for two weeks. The thing was in perfect condition, except for the chain, which looked like it was pulled from the Titanic...
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Old 03-03-09, 11:26 AM   #3
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If the bike's aluminum, I wouldn't worry about it. Maybe tie a plastic bag around the seat. Just clean and lube the chain periodically, and clean and repack the hubs and bb before and after the rainy season.
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Old 03-03-09, 12:01 PM   #4
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shower cap for the seat. Like the ones from hotel rooms. My GF turned me on to it. I don't have much (smoetimes any) hair on my head so I would have never thought about it.
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Old 03-03-09, 12:04 PM   #5
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Just invest a few dollars in a plastic bike cover. You can leave it at work or your gym locker and only take it out when it rains/snows.

Problem solved!
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Old 03-03-09, 12:18 PM   #6
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When it is raining or snowing, and in the winter in general around here, I just put a plastic grocery bag over my saddle, and switch to wet-lube for my chain. Road dirt sticks to wet-lube more, but it does not wash off in bad weather, and you have to check your chain more often in wet weather anyway (1-2 times per week for me). I also put a dab of lithium or other heavy grease where my brake and shifting cables come into contact with the cable housings and stuff. Gotta keep those things rust-free.

That is about it. I don't have any serious issues with my tape staying wet, or anything. You only have to worry about the exposed steel parts, and most parts on yours an my bikes are aluminum or plastic. No big deal.

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Old 03-03-09, 01:20 PM   #7
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Bikes are very resilliant to rain and will cary on for decades of daily use in wet climates.

If you take the seat out, rain will gather more quickly in the BB shell,
I prep my bike for wet winters by:
Packing the bearings full of grease. Im not sure this is recommended but it definately prevents ingress of crud.
Greasing all relevant metal-metal contact (threads, seatpost, stem etc).
Squirting rust-preventer inside steel frames.
Waxing frame, exposed cable wire, esposed bolt heads, exposed pedal spindles, anywhere likely to rust or corrode
Using full-length cable housings, well greased inside.

Beware of places where water can gather, esp BB shell and some cable outers (esp rear mechs using TT cable routing)
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Old 03-03-09, 05:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evantron3000 View Post
So, I just invested some money in a rear fender for my bike, a waterproof jacket, and some waterproof cycling pants. All this stuff will keep me fairly warm and dry during my wet commutes of the late winter/early spring SF bay area season. However, I realized that if it's raining, I would still be leaving my poor Cannondale out in the rain in certain situations (i.e. work, sometimes school, an the gym). I would like to never use my car unless absolutely necessary, but am just wondering what potential damage could be done to my bike (other than being stolen) if it's constantly being left in the rain. Also, what can I do to better maintain it when I return home from my rides?

I have a Cannondale CAAD3 Road/Cross bike.
I cover my bike every day - rain or shine. In the rain the cover keeps the bike protected. In the dry the cover keeps the bike from prying eyes. Peformance and Nashbar sell nice nylon covers for less than $20.
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Old 03-03-09, 06:15 PM   #9
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Screws seem to be the first thing to go for me. I get rust in the allen cup (is that even the word) and I worry I'll round it out trying to remove the thing. Stainless parts shouldn't do that, but I always find a few that don't turn out to be stainless.
I once had a lock seize up on me after being wet for a few hours. It was a Specialized. I took it back to the store and they replaced it with a better one at no cost.
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Old 03-03-09, 06:21 PM   #10
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Stainless parts shouldn't do that, but I always find a few that don't turn out to be stainless.
Don't buy into the hype. Stainless rusts too. Sure it takes more, but it'll rust. Remember it's stain-less. Not stain-proof.
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Old 03-03-09, 09:25 PM   #11
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I'm not a metallurgist, but I don't believe stainless steel actually rusts.
It does, however, pick up scrapings of non-stainless steels when you use your allen wrench on them, brush them with a steel wire brush, or expose them to the road salts and sand that covers the roads in snowy areas. These scrapings are what is likely rusting inside the allen cup.
Stainless steel will corrode - it pits in seawater, saltwater boaters have lots of experience with this.
If you have an old stainless steel cooking pot, you might see it there, too.
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Old 03-03-09, 09:46 PM   #12
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I locked my bike outside, in the elements, for an entire Seattle winter last year. It is a Giant OCR1, which has an aluminum frame and carbon fork. The bike was fine, I had zero issues with the bike itself from all that exposure to the wet and wind.

However, that is probably what did in my Cateye Strada Wireless computer; the display stopped working towards the end of winter. The CygoLite Dualcross I used most of last winter made it through all that fine though (dumb, I know, to leave a $150 light on a bicycle, but actually my blinkie is the light that got stolen one day).

Lubricate your chain regularly, give your bike a good cleaning now and then, and you'll be fine.
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Old 03-04-09, 04:00 PM   #13
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FYI,if there are any boat dealers or marina's,they generally stock marine-grade stainless fasteners/hardware. They're pretty much immune to just rain.
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Old 03-04-09, 06:27 PM   #14
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Light or expected rain, I just cover the seat with a shower cap as well and throw my light and odometer in my bag.

I also filled in the allen nuts with wax to prevent water from filling in them.

If it's raining hard, my employer lets me park it in a closed entrance. Otherwise, I would probably get a cheap cover if I had to leave it exposed in the rain year round. I know it's not going to melt, but I feel better and that's what counts...
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Old 03-04-09, 06:38 PM   #15
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i keep a plastic grocery bag tucked under my seat to cover my nice brooks saddle in the rain and snow.

other than that, i just make sure everything is lube'd, when it gets home i wipe off all the water/ice/snow and it goes back to the dinning room

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thats the great thing about being single and a college student, at worst i can tell the roomates 'tough crap' , it's not like i'll be sleeping in the dog house
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Old 03-04-09, 06:52 PM   #16
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Maybe I'll learn about this the hard way. I've got a steel bike that I use on rainy days, and I park it out in the rain. After about six months with lots of rain, I've seen the traces of rust in the allen cups, and when I changed out the crankset last month I found that the grease in the bottom bracket was rust colored.

I know the rust-colored grease is probably a bad sign, but it's not that great a frame anyway, and I'm curious to see how this develops. I read somewhere that a thin layer of rust actually protects the underlying metal.
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Old 03-09-09, 02:43 AM   #17
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wow guys, thanks for all the great responses. i'm going to shower cap my seat and lube my chain regularly. I've felt pretty confident about riding this new cannondale in the rain so far. thanks again for the input.
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Old 03-09-09, 03:56 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickey85 View Post
It seems the biggest issue would be wet tape, a junked seat, and rusted chain. But you can trash bag the handlebars, use a QR seatpost to just take the seat with you, and keep the chain oiled well. I just picked up a NIshiki that had been outside for two weeks. The thing was in perfect condition, except for the chain, which looked like it was pulled from the Titanic...
My sentiments also.. I don't really like to ride in the rain.. But, sometimes do.. I see signs of rust on my Tourer bikes nuts and bolts, as is.. Should my bike be out in the rain, I have security issues, also.. Making my nightly sleep more interpreted. .. Once on a tour we stayed at a b and b.. The family the second night would not permit the bike inside. We should have re-located. I locked the bike to a fence and bought a tarp that covered the whole bike..
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Old 03-09-09, 04:03 AM   #19
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i personally cannot be bothered with this... i just leave my bike where i can, if that is in the rain, then so beit.

my bike is ten years old, is left out side, under an awning every night and there are no reall problems.

just keep checking the chain and cogs, keep them gunk free... i just de-gunked mine for the first time in 3 or 4 months because i kept forgetting to do it..

regarding the seat.. your pants are water proof, so what is the big deal? but those plastic shopping bags are used the world over, they will last months, if not years and the handles can be used to tie the bag round the seat post....

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Old 03-09-09, 07:00 AM   #20
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I have a QR seat and bought a PVC pipe cap that fits where the seat post goes, so I take the seat with me and pop the cap on and lock it in. That way my seat is warm and dry for the ride home and the cap keeps the water out of the frame hole.
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