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    Leaving your bike outside

    Where do you winter commuters store your bike while at work? I've heard that it is better to leave it outside in the cold rather than bringing it inside to warm up (rust) and then take it back out in the cold. What do you think?

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    cyclepath daredevil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by browell View Post
    Where do you winter commuters store your bike while at work? I've heard that it is better to leave it outside in the cold rather than bringing it inside to warm up (rust) and then take it back out in the cold. What do you think?
    I've heard the same thing but I've still been bringing my steel framed bike in and out for a couple years now. So far so good. Probably not so much of an issue with an aluminum bike.

    As for me, I just can't manage to leave it outside when there's a nice safe warm place available for it.
    Even if it's not the best thing for it.
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    It's a piece of outdoor equipment. How's it going to hurt it to be outdoors?
    The thinking behind the don't-let-it-warm up theory probably goes back to when most bikes were steel. Moisture would condense on the insides of the tubes, where it could cause rust or run down into the bottom bracket. I don't know that it was ever a problem real problem.
    Certainly, cold isn't going to do any damage. My single speed is a 20-year-old Trek touring bike made of Reynolds 531, and as far as I can remember, it's never been indoors. Before I converted it to SS it was my main bike for years, ridden regularly in temps from 100+ to the 20s, and stored in an unheated shed year round. I greased the BB once, at least 10 years ago, and haven't given it a thought since.
    As an aside, the bike doesn't know if it's warm or cold. Leave it where it won't get stolen.

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    sleet will melt, then freeze on warm metal bike bits.
    water can get inside the cable housing, then freeze causing the cable to bind.
    or the weather can bring freezing rain, in which case your bike will become an icicle if left outdoors.
    most of the rusty outdoor bikes you see were damaged from acid rain and years of neglect. salty and sandy roads do speed up the process by damaging the protective coating, but it's really the lack of maintenance that causes parts to rust.


    you can leave it outside, that's fine, it's just that you'll have to wait for all of the snow and ice to melt off your bike before you can do any maintenance.
    Food for thought: if you aren't dead by 2050, you and your entire family will be within a few years from starvation. Now that is a cruel gift to leave for your offspring. ;)
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    At school I'll be parking it outside. At home it'll be in the living room. Winter in my living room is about 45F
    I reserve the right to be wrong at any time. :D

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    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    bikes that are warm attract a lot of snow and crud which then freezes when brought outside, and thaws out every time a bike is brought back inside during the winter (consistent subfreezing temperatures).

    I always found a well lubed and kept frozen bike would run smoother out of the back shed than a bike brought indoors each night to drip dry and crud out in the living room.
    "Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."

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    xtrajack xtrajack's Avatar
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    Mine stays protected from the weather, but, it does stay outside.

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    Recovering mentalist Randochap's Avatar
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    Nice if you have a covered area. But a commuter bike that gets left where it can be snowed/rained on and subject to theft is not something I'd invest a lot of cash in anyway.

    All my "good" bikes, though they get ridded in bad weather, stay in heated rooms and are cleaned and lubed regularly.
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    i left my commuter partially outside in my garage that doesn't have a door that closes for last year's entire winter, it got down in the -30's (F) and the -40's a couple times. i rode it every day with out problems, just run the chain through the scrubber every couple days.
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    I would imagine the outside cruft would build up to the point of overwhelming my bike if I never brought it inside to melt and dry off.

    I certainly think that leaving it outside where it's going to get snowed and rained on is worse for it then bringing it inside.

    IMO, which is entirely my own, I think the only reason that bringing it inside would be bad is if it's for short periods where the snow on your bike would melt, but not evaporate, then you'd take it outside again and it would freeze. But that's just my thought - I keep mine inside. Certainly, there's much less of a chance of it getting stolen inside for me.

  11. #11
    Senior Member KLW2's Avatar
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    Outside in a bike locker..my company asked me about what kind of bike racks to get for us commuters. I gave them a few examples and said the best would be lockers....a few weeks later they showed up. Right next to the door to our fitness center where our showers are.....that's really nice here in the winter!

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    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    There's less corrosion if your bike is kept cold and tires shed snow better when they're cold. There's advantages to bringing your bike inside though too.

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    Ferrous metals or not, only bring it in and warm it up if you have time to completely dry it.

    Otherwise, taking a wet bike out for a freezing ride home is a recipe for a world of malfunction.

  14. #14
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    at home it's under a tarp and lawn furniture keeps the tarp in place. while at work I bring it inside and keep it near the loading dock.
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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