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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 11-27-07, 02:45 PM   #1
Roody
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How to quick-thaw a bike?

This is my fifth winter of riding, but the first time I've had this particular problem.

Here's the problem. The other night we got some freezing rain followed by a couple inches of wet snow. When I got on my bike in the morning, the brakes. shifters and both derailers were frozen solid, and the cranks would barely move at all. I squirted lube on everything but I was still stuck. I ended up walking to work.

I have three questions:
  1. What's a quick way to thaw out a frozen bike so you can ride it?
  2. Is there an easy way to prevent freezing if you must leave the bike out in the rain and snow?
  3. What would make one bike more prone to freezing than another one? Like I said, I've never had this problem before.

My new MTB seems to be more prone to freezing than previous bikes, and I won't have access to the garage for a while.
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Old 11-27-07, 02:49 PM   #2
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I don't have a direct answer, but this is the precise reason I moved to fixed gear. Also, I'm making a kind of shelter or cover out of PolyEthelyne when my bikes need to be locked up outside, which will hopefully keep water, snow, and ice out. Was your bike locked outside overnight? Try a tarp.
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Old 11-27-07, 02:57 PM   #3
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I don't have a direct answer, but this is the precise reason I moved to fixed gear. Also, I'm making a kind of shelter or cover out of PolyEthelyne when my bikes need to be locked up outside, which will hopefully keep water, snow, and ice out. Was your bike locked outside overnight? Try a tarp.
Yes it was outside overnight, and a tarp would prevent the problem. It's a good idea, and I might do that.

But a tarp won't help when I'm parked at a store or a friend's house, or anywhere away from home. So I'd still like to hear any suggestions for a quick-thaw.
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Old 11-27-07, 03:48 PM   #4
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So I'd still like to hear any suggestions for a quick-thaw.
You could always pee all over it.
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Old 11-27-07, 04:25 PM   #5
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small travel hair-dryer?
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Old 11-27-07, 05:15 PM   #6
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This is why I hose my rig down with WD-40 when I'm done in the winter slop. A trip to the boiler room at work helps too.
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Old 11-27-07, 07:28 PM   #7
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Old 11-27-07, 07:45 PM   #8
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Yes it was outside overnight, and a tarp would prevent the problem. It's a good idea, and I might do that.

But a tarp won't help when I'm parked at a store or a friend's house, or anywhere away from home. So I'd still like to hear any suggestions for a quick-thaw.
There are a couple of bicycle specific covers that have snaps at the bottom and are shaped just for a bike. The thickness and quality vary. Get a good one and just bring it along. I had a really good one for a motorcycle but it was on the heavy side. I always have a thin light one in my panniers on my touring bike. The LBS has a more durable one that a friend uses. They are not expensive.
There is no good way to quick thaw a bike. Depending on what "quick" means to you. Carry the bike cover in a large strong plastic bag so you can just shake it off and stuff it in the bag wet or snowy. It works pretty good.

This looks exactly like the ones sold at my LBS and my friend has one. $20.00

http://www.brookstone.com/sl/product...le-covers.html

$10.00..........

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listi...994768-3362546

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Old 11-27-07, 11:39 PM   #9
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You could always pee all over it.
You're close. Pouring warm water over the frozen parts will unfreeze them. Just be sure to use them after you unfreeze them or they'll just freeze up again.

This happened to me a couple of times last winter. Over the summer I replaced the cables with Alligator cables. According to the guy at the LBS, these aren't supposed to freeze up on me. We'll see.
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Old 11-28-07, 08:32 AM   #10
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spray bottle with warmed up isopropyl alcohol. do not even think of warming this up
with a stove or device. warm it up by placing it inside a pot of already heated water

then squirt some thin lube on the important bits,
as the alcohol will tend to strip away lube,
but it will get rid of the ice fastest


the short answer is there is no quick way to thaw it other than chip away
at it with a small pc screwdriver
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Old 11-28-07, 01:45 PM   #11
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spray bottle with warmed up isopropyl alcohol. do not even think of warming this up
with a stove or device. warm it up by placing it inside a pot of already heated water

then squirt some thin lube on the important bits,
as the alcohol will tend to strip away lube,
but it will get rid of the ice fastest


the short answer is there is no quick way to thaw it otherisopropyl alcohol than chip away
at it with a small pc screwdriver
Yes the alcohol will help thaw frozen bike parts to a point. But remember to re-lube your cables after and keep them lubed and clean.
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Old 11-28-07, 03:55 PM   #12
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Hot water, shake off, hit with WD 40 and ride.

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Old 11-28-07, 04:53 PM   #13
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Putting warm water or peeing on a car lock works fine. When it's very cold after you open the car door the water turns back to ice again and the lock refreezes, Sometimes even preventing ths door latch from keeping the door closed. This is OK on a car, because you can run the heater and eventually the warm interior of the car will warm the lock. Or you just drive with one lock frozen for a while. Not so on a bicycle in fact it refreezes so fast you make things worse, you could freeze the freewheel pawls if you have a freewheel, or the cables too. Forget about putting warm water on a bike outside in the cold.
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Old 12-02-07, 11:37 AM   #14
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Did anybody ever try the various de-icers that are sold for car windshields and locks?
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Old 12-02-07, 12:04 PM   #15
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I have three questions:

1. What's a quick way to thaw out a frozen bike so you can ride it?
2. Is there an easy way to prevent freezing if you must leave the bike out in the rain and snow?
3. What would make one bike more prone to freezing than another one?

1. Alcohol seems to be the best method and lock de-icer is great as it's portable and designed for injecting alcohol into small spaces.

I also carry a micro-torch which can thaw things like ss freewheels.

2. Keep your bike well lubed and protect it from being rained on... snow isn't as big deal but rain will freeze up any bike.

3. Some bikes just seem to be more prone to freezing up... my fixed gear is nearly immune to this and even if the brake froze I could get along quite well without it.

Running full length housing on all your cables can really help with all your riding as this reduces the points where water and crud can get into your cables and freeze things up.
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Old 12-02-07, 07:34 PM   #16
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Did anybody ever try the various de-icers that are sold for car windshields and locks?
The alcohol in them is not good for the paint, grips, tape, seat, tires, brake shoes, cable housings, plastic pedals, clear plastic bike computer screen, any wires, cable housing, any moving parts that need lubrication (almost everything). The chain and all the bearings will suffer very quickly if you keep doing it.
The wheel bearings, the rubber wheel bearing seals if you have them the BB ........

One good spray could ruin a couple of things. Don't try it.
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