Life is always sweeter in the saddle – even in the winter it beats being pressed up close to a stranger’s armpit on public transport. But having to repair your bike halfway through the journey is something none of us want to do in wet, cold weather. So look after your bike regularly, invest a little bit and it will look after you and keep you happy every day, whatever the weather.
How often do you see people at the side of the road struggling with their chain and cogs? If you check your chain tension regularly (a ‘chain checker’ is useful to monitor wear), and clean and oil it each week, you shouldn’t have too much trouble shifting gears and avoid unnecessary grinding or the chain jumping off.
Brakes and tyres
Winter roads and the debris they serve up make punctures far more likely at this time of year. So check your tyres regularly to make sure they still have tread and watch out for holes or worn patches. Ideally you should invest in some winter tyres, whether that’s a slightly wider tyre or more specific ‘all season’ tread. Brake pads or discs and brake cables should also be checked and maintained every month for wear and tear.
Even when it’s not raining (or worse), winter roads are usually wet and gritty. Mudguards stop road spray getting where the sun doesn’t shine, and also protects your bike and other cyclists on the road. There are plenty of easy-to-fit mudguards on the market and while they might add to your bike appeal, they will keep you cleaner and drier.
Saddle-bag and mini-pump
If you do get a puncture halfway to work, a saddlebag with a repair kit, spare inner tube, tyre levers and small multi-tool will be there just when you need it. A frame pump or mini-pump (which can be attached to your bike too) is a must-have.
And last but definitely not least… keep it clean! Cleaning your bike at least every other week is essential to its longevity and your happiness.