GETTING READY FOR WINTER'S WRATH

Most of my bikes will be stored for the winter, but one will see daily duty

The chilly weather here in Kentucky the past few days has reminded me that it's time once again to get my bikes ready for another long winter's nap.

My 2015 Electra Cruiser 1, 1970 Schwinn Racer and the most recent addition, a 1992 Huffy Good Vibrations (which belongs to my uncle), will see only occasional duty this winter ... only if and when there isn't any salt to attack them.  Otherwise they will enjoy the relatively warm confines of my garage.  We'll get back to that.

That won't be the case with my Magna Rip Curl. Ol' Blue, as it's done time and again, will once more soldier through another winter without let-up, and to get it ready for extended action, I dragged out my extra set of steel wheels and ordered up a set of Kenda Dart K837 mountain tires, which were mounted Monday night (Nov. 23).  I like that they have a deep, aggressive tread pattern that will help me pick my way through mud, snow and slush on campus and around the neighborhood.

I also finally broke down and rebuilt the bottom bracket, as it had been giving me some trouble lately. For under $10, I got replacement bearings, bearing cups and all the hardware.  Went together easily, and with all U.S.-made parts. :-)

Everything that moves or should move has been lubricated or had its grease replaced as needed. Last year, I found out the hard way that cold weather doesn't exactly help with bearing wear.  I lost the lower cage and several bearings from the headset during a time when the temps hovered around 0 for several days ... but didn't realize it immediately.  Upon taking it apart, I found the damage, and fortunately didn't ruin anything. (Yes, I was lucky!)

Sooooo ... back to storing my "good" bikes ... how does one do that, anyway???

It's really quite simple.  First off, you want to make sure the bike is clean.  As in, "clean enough to eat off of."  Not just the frame, either. Get at the hubs, the chain -- EVERYTHING.

When you're done with that, lubricate everything.  Repack the bottom bracket, headset, anything that needs it.

And, of course, top off the tires if they need a little bit of air.  Take them up to the recommended max pressure - and check them once in a while to ensure they stay there.

Finally, if (like me) you use electronic bike speedometers, take them off -- they are detachable -- and store them inside where it's warm. This will preserve the batteries.  Alternately, you can write down the mileage on a small piece of tape, install a new battery and re-input the info in the spring (if yours allow this - many nowadays do).

That's about it ... until Spring, when it'll be time to get 'em out and give 'em a once-over before starting out again!  Can't happen soon enough for me!

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