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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 11-13-12, 08:50 AM   #1
jrickards
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Bike at work during winter: stored inside or outside?

As I was riding in this morning, on lightly salted roads, I got to thinking about where to store my bike at work on days in which there is significant salty slush. I heard (may be an urban myth) that storing your car in a garage during the winter that is warm enough to melt the salty snow off the car overnight, thereby resulting in a somewhat continuous freeze/thaw cycle, is bad for the car, but a good environment to create rust. I have access to an indoor storage area for my bike but I am wondering if, on salty slushy days, whether I should be keeping it outdoors (there is a secure area outside).
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Old 11-13-12, 09:06 AM   #2
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stored outside and I never clean it ... not since new (almost 2000km).

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Old 11-13-12, 09:16 AM   #3
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I wouldn't even store my #2 rust-bucket beater outside!!
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Old 11-13-12, 09:17 AM   #4
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Nice! My bike, also new this year, about 1,800km on it so far (and predominantly red too!)

Do you get much salt on the roads during the winter?
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Old 11-13-12, 09:26 AM   #5
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Nice! My bike, also new this year, about 1,800km on it so far (and predominantly red too!)

Do you get much salt on the roads during the winter?
I'm not sure about Frankfurt cycle paths as this will be my winter commuting here.

However, it Sweden (at least Stockholm) they pretty much abandoned salt for dirt/gravel/small stones as it was better for the environment/infrastructure.
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Old 11-13-12, 09:38 AM   #6
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I work at a Ford dealer and the boss let me put my bike in the drive-thru area but with the constant opening and closing of the garage door it doesn't get to warm. It's my first winter of commuting (winter is not really started here) so I don't know yet what the bike will look like in the spring but I don't really care, as I took an old mtb that I will use as a winter bike as soon as we have winter.
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Old 11-13-12, 11:46 AM   #7
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Inside @ work, but outside at the Tavern, After Work..
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Old 11-13-12, 12:39 PM   #8
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If you don't rinse your bike of the salt and crud, immediately after parking it indoors, the best procedure would be to place a coating of wax or oil over the steel frame, keep it outdoors as long as the temperature is below freezing, and there are no security issues.

If your frame is made of aluminum, it won't matter much either way. Aluminum tends not to oxidize to any appreciable rate like steel does.

At the end of the day, all crud and salt should be rinsed off of your bike and the bike placed indoors where it's warm, and can dry, as dissimilar metals in the crud will reduce the rust resistance of the aluminum, but more so with steel.

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Old 11-13-12, 01:59 PM   #9
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Aluminum frame but others in the forum would benefit from the info.

The best I can do with regard to removing crud would be to wait until the bike warms and then give it a shake (ie, go to the bike cage at morning break). At home, the outside water hose has been turned off because it would freeze so there is no water available until the spring.

I'll just have to try to avoid really slushy days, keep the chain well oiled and be prepared to replace it in the spring.
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Old 11-13-12, 02:17 PM   #10
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Aluminum frame but others in the forum would benefit from the info.

The best I can do with regard to removing crud would be to wait until the bike warms and then give it a shake (ie, go to the bike cage at morning break). At home, the outside water hose has been turned off because it would freeze so there is no water available until the spring.

I'll just have to try to avoid really slushy days, keep the chain well oiled and be prepared to replace it in the spring.
self-serve power spraying car wash?
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Old 11-13-12, 03:00 PM   #11
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self-serve power spraying car wash?
Yes, there are some in town but if I rode my bike to one, I'd only get it dirty again on the ride home. During the winter, we put the Jeep's bike rack away so that really isn't an option.

Perhaps the best solutions are:
  1. avoid salty slushy days where possible
  2. get a winter beater and don't worry about it
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Old 11-13-12, 03:08 PM   #12
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Yes, there are some in town but if I rode my bike to one, I'd only get it dirty again on the ride home. During the winter, we put the Jeep's bike rack away so that really isn't an option.

Perhaps the best solutions are:
  1. avoid salty slushy days where possible
  2. get a winter beater and don't worry about it
3. just ride it.
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Old 11-13-12, 03:14 PM   #13
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Use a garden sprayer to rinse off the bike, just a small hand held version.

If I had any concern about bringing a bike inside during the winter it would be the constant temperature cycling on the various components. I've heard people say that it's best to leave the bike cold as much as you can in winter months. (I have not ridden through the winter, so I don't have a horse in the race)
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Old 11-13-12, 04:29 PM   #14
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If you don't rinse your bike of the salt and crud, immediately after parking it indoors, the best procedure would be to place a coating of wax or oil over the steel frame, keep it outdoors as long as the temperature is below freezing, and there are no security issues.

If your frame is made of aluminum, it won't matter much either way. Aluminum tends not to oxidize to any appreciable rate like steel does.
Last winter my wheels and the aluminum kickstand on my bottom bracket shell were covered in a nice salty slush/block of ice for a few weeks because the snow froze in the spokes and I couldn't get it out anymore. The wheels have gone a bit spotty, with bubbling around the spokes and also the kickstand did get a fair amount of bubbling, causing the paint to just flake off.

Mind you this is a 5 year old aluminum bike that stands outside every single day and only goes inside during the night... which can be at midnight sometimes. So it is pretty exposed.
Technically the bike is still perfect, it just has a few imperfections now.
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Old 11-13-12, 05:01 PM   #15
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I've only ridden for one winter, but I take it inside both at home and at work. Calgary's weather is crazy enough that I'd rather let it thaw out completely and dry inside rather than have it partially thaw and then freeze solid outside after the water worked its way into various crevices.

I have a steel bike and I use full fenders to protect the components - so far so good. My friend who rode without fenders had to replace his crankset after just one winter, and has since switched to using fenders. I think they make a big difference in protecting your bike.

You'll have to lube your chain a lot more frequently than in the summer, particularly after a heavy snowfall when the chain's dragging in the snow. I learned my lesson on a fairly cheap bike that I left outside all winter - it was rusted like crazy, and I had to replace the chain, despite not even using the bike.
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Old 11-13-12, 08:20 PM   #16
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Roll with plastic fenders and mud flaps. If you have to ride in slush, it won't completely cover you or the bike.

I park inside (typically in my classroom, on a cardboard box if its super duper wet. I oil my chain when it starts making noise (usually that gushing noise that happens before a squeak), and grease bearings twice yearly - in Octoberish and Marchish. As for the frame - all of my bikes are steel, and I haven't noticed any appreciable rust on any of my frames due to slush, rain, or salt/grit.
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Old 11-13-12, 08:21 PM   #17
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I'll just have to try to avoid really slushy days, keep the chain well oiled and be prepared to replace it in the spring.
I say just ride your bike whatever the conditions and store it inside or outside but lubricate and check your chain freqently. It may need to be replaced before spring. If it does, do it before you are in for a new cassette or chainring.
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Old 11-13-12, 09:05 PM   #18
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Inside @ work, but outside at the Tavern, After Work..
Cheers! Err, I mean, +1!
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Old 11-13-12, 09:12 PM   #19
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At home: stored in the basement.

At work: stored outside locked to poorly plowed bicycle racks.
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Old 11-13-12, 10:13 PM   #20
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At home in the unheated garage. At work, outside in the weather. Granted, we don't get much snow (I won't ride in it, I don't trust the drivers) and no salt is used to remove ice. Mostly lots of water and road grime - the road grime is almost the consistency of jeweler's rouge, really fine and gritty. I probably don't bathe the bike as often as I should.

Can't logically see storing it inside during the work day - it gets crappy on the way in and on the way home, sitting in the rain probably is good for it...
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Old 11-14-12, 03:09 PM   #21
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I used to be lucky, parked mine on an interior but unheated loading dock. I always had big sheets of cardboard out there so it could drip and not mess the floor. i would brush it the best I could before bringing it in. if work wasn't so accomodating like that I would have left it outside
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