How to Store Your Bicycle Over Winter

Whether you live in a mansion that is so lavish, you spent more on your security system than you did on furnishings, or your humble flat is a sweet piece of real estate, the question of where to store your bike over winter is essential. 

But here you are – watching skies grow grey, mourning the end of the season you love, and trying to figure out where to stash your wheels. 

You can stop reading now if your abode is Home and Gardens magazine centerfold material, but if your place qualifies as small and cute, this advice will come in handy.

Once winter arrives, find a spot for your bike that is under roof and out of the way. Stow it in any room in your home, in your garage, or in the basement. If you’ve got a roomy closet that isn’t full, tuck your bike inside after you’ve cleaned it up, removed accessories and valuables, so it’s ready to go once winter comes to an end.

How do you store your bike over a long period of time

Assuming you’ve just received an offer for a high-paying job overseas and you can’t take your favorite road bike with you, consider long-term storage at a rental facility. Storage tips from U-Haul can help you make sure that your ride is in the same shape it was before you left to make your million dollars abroad.

Before you bid a fond farewell to your wheels, decide whether or not it’s important to you to get your bike off the ground for the duration of your absence. Hanging your bike by a wheel rim to get it off concrete could subject it to gravity that may warp the rim due to your bike’s weight, which is why new products on the market are being introduced that evenly distribute the weight.

Read more: Tips and tricks on how to store your bike

If you have no choice but to store your bike on cement or another surface, prepare yourself for flat-spots in the spring as a result of tires becoming deflated over time. Experts recommend leaving tires inflated, but that doesn’t mean that air won’t leak out over time either.

Before you leave your bike for the duration, wipe everything down to get rid of dirt and grime, check all of the cables and chains, and lubricate everything that needs oil. Inspect and make notes about rust, cracks, or breaks that can be exacerbated during your absence, especially if you left your bike at a storage facility where you can’t control other people and bikes coming into contact with yours.

Is it okay to store a bike outside

Caitlin Giddings begins her Bicycling.com article about outdoor bike storage with this admonition: “Don’t beat yourself up—there are plenty of reasons you might end up storing a bike outside to contend with the winter elements.” 

Some things can’t be helped and if you have no other alternative, you’re going to have to make the best of a situation that’s not ideal.

Photo by Juan Encalada on Unsplash

What’s the most important thing to factor in if you opt to store your bike outside? Time. How long do you intend to store your bike outdoors? If your bike isn’t new, chances that it could incur some damage from the elements are more likely than if your bike is fairly new. 

In both instances, while this isn’t the best situation, leaving a bike outside for a short period of time shouldn’t be a big deal – but that depends on your location.

You live in Alaska. You live in Florida. Which environment do you imagine would treat a bike being stored outside the best? 

If you guessed Florida, that may not necessarily be true. Heat, humidity and salt air can wreak havoc on a bike’s frame and components when it is left outside for long periods of time. 

Read more: How to Remove Rust From Your Bike and Keep it Off

This is especially problematic since tropical destinations have rainy seasons, not to mention hurricanes, all of which can be deadly to your chain if it rusts or becomes corroded. Got stainless steel parts? You’ll be in better shape, but rubber and plastic parts are vulnerable to deterioration.

Is rain bad for your bike

Ideally, living in a place that is so idyllic, you could hop on your bike 365 days a year without worrying about a single weather incident, but you live in the real world, and snow and rain happen, according to Tyler at Road Basics

You won’t have to worry about your saddle since most of these products are made to absorb body sweat, but water intrusion resulting from rain or snow could cause deterioration in chains, gears, and derailleurs – especially if they’re not cleaned and lubricated routinely.

Photo by Petri Haanpää on Unsplash

Electronics on bikes are a different matter. While these accessories probably offer some waterproof benefits, they are likely not significant enough to protect components beyond reasonable exposure to water drops and splashes.

Do some research to find out what your bike’s Ingress Protection (IP) rating happens to be. If the number ends with 3 or 4, you’re okay. If it’s 6, you’re gold!

One more thing: a bike exposed to a lot of rain while it’s stored could impact your brakes – especially if they are rim brakes, known to make it harder to slow down and stop if they’re waterlogged. 

Disk brakes are more forgiving. Store your bike in an area that wets your brakes and water will have a more difficult time penetrating your brakes.

Is it bad to hang your bike by the wheels

For cyclists who love controversies, the topic of hanging a bike by its wheels is enough to start a debate if not an argument. 

There is plenty of evidence that proves wall and ceiling hooks are not just popular but essential tools for folks who have garages that are already filled to capacity, leaving walls and ceilings the only viable option. 

Most of these hooks are J or S-shaped, vinyl-coated and sturdy, and as long as you affix the hook to a stud, long storage times shouldn’t be problematic.

On the other hand, hanging a bike from a single wheel rather than both wheels has the potential to damage rims by putting too much pressure on the lone rim. 

Seeking a safer alternative? According to Jim Langley, author of “Your Home Bicycle Workshop,” it’s best to hang a bicycle from two points of contact on the frame, and definitely not by the wheel.” Your bike. Your hooks. Your choice.

How do you store an electric bike

If you define a bike as a handy, useful transportation mode, but you see an e-bike as an investment due to the amount of money you spent on it, it’s a good bet you would never store your bike outside or in the rain. 

Read more: Best Electric Bikes under $1000 in 2021

But you need to store it somewhere during the winter months and your home is the ideal solution. If you’re fortunate to have floor space you can dedicate to your e-bike, a simple floor rack can keep the bike secure or tuck it into a closet.

On the subject of wall mounts, CycleVolta editors are proponents of single and multiple units crafted to hold an “e-bike flat against the wall” to optimize space. The most sophisticated products on the market offer adjustable mounts so you can customize the fit to suit the size and shape of your e-bike.

Read more: How to Choose an Electric Bike – Complete Buying Guide

Take into consideration the weight of your machine and whether or not you mind living with a bike hanging from a wall in your home. Of course, if you consider your e-bike a work of art, it is likely to look just perfect hanging from any wall in your home.