Don’t Fear The Cold!
Create a Good Bike-Cleaning Setup
Cleaning your bike regularly in good weather is one thing, but once temperatures drop and the weather gets bad—the time we need to clean our bikes the most—it becomes a Herculean task. Create a good bike-washing setup before bad weather strikes so you’re ready. A cheap pump-action garden sprayer for cleaning off his bike in the garage (with a drain nearby), which can also be done in the driveway post-ride is a great start. Also, head to Home Depot for cleaning brushes, and loves grout-cleaning brushes and refrigerator-coil brushes for tight spots. You want to get every single spot covered – and a good variety of tools will help you do this.
Choose Your Fenders Wisely
Full-coverage fenders are great when it rains, but once it’s frozen, they’ll fail. They’re the worst thing you could use, because they end up working as full coverage tire brakes. Because of this, invest in a clip-on fender to use when it is freezing cold outside.
Cooking Spray Is Your New BFF
It’s not just for triathletes who need to shed wetsuits fast: Pam spray is a favorite of cyclocrossers, and if you’re unfamiliar with using it outside the kitchen, it’ll become your new best friend this winter. Many cyclists use cooking sprays like Pam as undercoats for cleats and his metal frame, which make wiping off grime easier. It also gives the bike a bit of a buffer from the elements. (Just don’t get it on disc brakes or wheel rims for cantilever bikes.)
However, for pedals use a silicone spray or DuPont’s Snow and Ice Repellent (it’s made for snowblowers and can be found at hardware stores).
Lube It Up
Regularly lubing your chain becomes more important in bad weather. In normal rain and mild snow, use your favorite bike lube to keep your chain running smooth and quietly.
For extreme circumstances, you might need to get more serious. Bar and chain lube was designed to be used on chainsaws, but for truly muddy, snowy roads, it’s a good go-to for your bike’s chain. Bar and chain lube will wear out your bike chain faster though, so use it only in the worst weather conditions.
Have Your Tires Dialed
In really bad weather, studded tires are great, but there are plenty of softer rubber-compound tires with winter treads. Cyclocross file-tread tires are a good option. The file tread is ideal because the treads on the sides offer traction in bad conditions, but the main tread rolls almost as smooth as road tires. Even more important is the right tire pressure. If you can, run your tires on the lowest pressure setting, if comfortable. It helps the tires grip frozen and slippery surfaces better.