If you left your bicycle outside this weekend, susceptible to damage from snow, dirt and ice-melting salts, there are a few things you should do to get it back into good working order, according to local experts.
Clean it, and keep it clean. Tyler Oulton, who owns Ball Square's Paramount Bicycle shop, writes on his website that cleaning a bicycle is the most important part of winter maintenance. Taking mild soap and a sponge to the frame will not only remove dirt, he says, but also get you to check for damage or deterioration. He recommends looking for wear or rust on the break pads, correct wheel alignment, broken spokes and cracks in the frame.
Then to keep you and your bike as clean as possible, he writes, install either full or clip-on fenders onto your front and back wheels.
Lubricate the chain. After drying your bicycle, coat the chain with Synlube, Tri-Flow or another chain lubricant, Oulton writes. But he suggests that you apply it sparsely, let it sit for a couple of minutes and then wipe it off with a rag. Then do the same with the derailleur.
Wax inside and out. A blogger for Boston Biker wrote in the December guide to winter maintenance that how you clean and protect your bicycle depends on the type you own.
With steel bicycles, make sure there are no scratches to the paint on the frame, since rust will develop quickly from exposure to water and salt. Further, Boston Biker recommends that riders wax the outside of the frame with products for cars and the inside of the tubes with Frame Saver.
Meanwhile, riders of aluminum or other non-steel bikes just need to wax the frame, according to the guide.
Park the bike inside. In Somerville Patch's , Jeremy Mendelson, a pending member of the city's Bicycle Advisory Committee, said he couldn't stress enough the importance of storing bicycles indoors.
"Too many people leave their bikes outside and thus under snow piles all winter, but even a day of moisture and changing temperatures can ruin many parts of the bike."
Further, he recommended that cyclists wipe down their bikes after every ride to prevent rust from forming and lubricate their chains once a week.
With the season for snowstorms upon us, the committee's vice chairman, Charlie Denison, said he wouldn't recommend locking a bicycle to a street sign or bike rack on the sidewalk, "because it will probably get buried in snow banks or destroyed by plows."