If you think you have it bad when temperatures fall, the rain comes down, and the road turns to a corrosive paste of salt and grime, spare a thought for your bike.
The steed beneath you is in the firing line for the beastly mud and umska that coats the road during winter, and, like you, should be dressed for the conditions. We headed to our local bike shop, Ride, to consider the options.
Wheels should be shod with more durable rubber to ward off the stones washed onto the road by winter rain. The chain – the heart of the drivetrain and a component whose free running cannot be overstated – should be coated in a lubricant strong enough to remain in situ when the rain lashes down. Cables should be similarly protected.
Mudguards should be fitted – a not always simple task, and one that requires careful selection and occasionally improvised installation. And lights, the ultimate ‘non-negotiable’ of winter cycling, should be mounted securely, positioned with consideration for motorists and riding buddies, and kept clean and charged.
Over the following pages, we’ll be looking at easy ways to accomplish each task. If you have any tips for dressing a bike for winter, share them in the RCUK Forum.