Autumn has certainly arrived and winter is just around the corner (we have already seen snow on the hills!), so it’s now time to get your bicycle sorted for the winter. Here at CycleHouse, we have put together a guide on how to survive the up in coming months.
Mudguards are essential during Autumn and Winter riding, they keep most of the spray out of your eyes and keep you drier, for longer. They are also great for those days that you start your ride after it’s been raining. Not only that but most chain-gangs (group rides) will insist on riders use them during the wetter months. Prices start from £22 and we have a wide range of mudguards that will fit most bicycles, from those with dedicated frame-sets with mounts to the race frame-sets without.
Surprisingly, tyres are often overlooked for the winter. Check your tyres on a regular basis and if the tread is starting to feel flat or cracks are forming, change them over to a stickier winter tyre. The current staff favourite at CycleHouse are Continental Gatorskins, grippy, has a small amount of tread to disperse water and most importantly, reliable.
You’ve spent all summer on the same brake blocks and like your tyres, it’s about time to change the brake blocks over to dual-compound. Dual-compound blocks will increase your braking performance in the wet and will also add longevity to the block life. Visit CycleHouse where our expert mechanics will not only advise you on the best brake blocks, but will also fit them for you.
Lights are a winter essential. Yes, you may be able to see where you are heading, but can other road users see you? “I was recently caught out in the summer, sunset was 9.30 PM and I went out for an hours ride at 7 PM, cue a large thunderstorm and lightning. Everywhere went dark and I had to finish my ride on the pavement as I was not carrying even a simple set of flashing lights! ” With the threat of rain and dark clouds, coupled with early sunsets, it’s wise to carry a simple set of lights for other road users to see you. If you are training in the dark, then a set of lights to see where you are going is a good investment.
We see quite a few orange chains coming through our workshop, a simple application of chain lube will prevent this. It will make your chainset more efficient and cause less wear on your cassette and chainrings, whilst also resulting in a quieter ride. A wet lube by either Finish Line or Muc Off will not wash off in the rain (a dry lube is designed for the summer, as it is less sticky and therefore less prone to picking up dust from the roads).
Salts on the roads will slowly eat away at your expensive bicycle and components. Muc Off and Finish Line do an excellent range of cleaning products, from bicycle shampoo, frame polishes through to degreasers for your chainsets. A clean bicycle is always a joy to ride and it gives the opportunity to closely inspect your bicycle to see if parts are worn or bolts need tightening up.
Rain and surface water acts as a great lubrication. This is why you increase you chances of a puncture during the winter months, so it’s worth carrying an extra inner tube or gas canister for those ‘just in-case moments!’ Also, make sure your pump functions well, all to often the winter can be hard on the pumps (especially those stored onto bicycle frames) and a simple, monthly clean of the internals will keep it working.
Finally, why not get your bicycle serviced by our trained mechanics at Cycle House before the winter arrives. They will be able to assess if your bicycle is safe to ride during the winter after all those summer miles, replace worn parts or tighten up bolts and give the bicycle a little T.L.C.