August 19, 2022

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While you would love to take your bike with you on vacation, you grudgingly come...

While you would love to take your bike with you on vacation, you grudgingly come to grips with the fact that this is one trip your favorite travel companion can’t join you on. You’ve had a lot of great rides around your neighborhood and along local trails, and you look forward to having more when you get back.

To better ensure your bike’s ready for your return and your first ride, perform some bike maintenance. Not only does bike maintenance keep your ride in great condition, but it also helps you enjoy many treks on your bike for years to come. Before you switch to vacation mode, take steps to store your ride properly and help it last longer.

Take Care of Your Bike Light

If you have a bike light, remove all helmet mounts, GoPro adaptors, and other attachments before cleaning it. Clean grime and dirt from bicycle lights with a mild cleaning solution of bike cleaning product and lukewarm water. Not all bike lights are waterproof or water-resistant, so check yours before using a liquid cleaner.

Check the light’s battery before you store it. To protect the equipment’s charge capacity, it’s best to store it when it has a charge between 25% and 75%. Stashing a fully charged or fully discharged battery for a long time could compromise the light’s performance, so check the owner’s manual for long-term storage tips.

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Inflate the Tires

If you plan to store your bike on its wheels, fully inflate the tires before putting it away. Standing a bike on flat tires can distort the rubber over time, which can make getting ready for future rides a lot less fun. As the bike sits, its weight presses down on a single spot on the tires, which may weaken them. You can also keep this from happening by suspending the bike from the ceiling.

Inspect and Wipe Down the Frame

Use a stiff, soft-bristled brush to clean your bike frame of dirt, mud, and other debris. Next, wipe your bike with a rag to clear away lingering dirt. Finally, inspect your drive train to see if it needs some TLC.

Inspect your frame as you wipe it down. Do you notice signs of metal fatigue or cracking around the bottom bracket or weld spots? Depending on where you ride and the riding you do, bottom brackets can endure a lot of stress.

Clean the Chain

Protect your chain from wear and tear by cleaning and lubricating it. If you inspect your chain and don’t see much dirt or grime, you can use a cloth and degreaser. Chains that need more attention and elbow grease may require a bike chain cleaner.

Once the degreaser’s dried, add a few drops of lubricant to each individual link. Give the lube time to dry, then wipe away the excess to keep grit and grime from building up on the chain.

Empty Water Bottles and Hydration Packs

Remove water bottles from your bike and anywhere else you may have them stashed away for rides. Empty the bottles before washing them, and let them air dry with the lids off.

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To prepare backpack-style hydration packs for storage, create a mild solution of water and vinegar and swirl it inside the bladder. Then, rinse out the bag several times with hot water before leaving the lid off the pack and letting it air dry.

Wipe the Saddle, Tires, and Handgrips

You don’t have to wipe down your bike’s handgrips, tires, or saddle before storing it, but cleaning these parts makes your bike look better. You can use a protective product that makes these parts of your bike shine, but make sure the product is designed for whatever material your bike seat or handlebars are made of.

You can fully enjoy yourself on vacation knowing your bike’s well-cared for. Have fun, and remember to bring your favorite travel companion a souvenir!