The Autumn checklist. Does your bike tick all of the boxes?
Winter is coming, but that doesn’t mean the end of your riding until spring rolls around again.
With a few simple accessories, you can extend your cycling season and riding right through the winter. Here’s our checklist for winter readiness.
When it’s wet, the lubrication will wash off your chain more quickly. So apply, and then reapply. It’ll keep your chain and gears running smoothly. We recommend Rock’n’Roll lube, because it cleans and lubricates the chain at the same time.
With your bike in a stand, or upside down, put the bike in the biggest gear and backpedal while dribbling lube on the chain as it turns over the rear sprocket. Watch your fingers. Wipe of the excess from the chain with a rag as you slowly backpedal. Again, be careful of your fingers and don’t let the rag get caught in the chain. Wipe off the excess again until the chain is shiny. You can ride right away, but if you let the extra lube evaporate for a few hours (or overnight) the chain will be drier and attract less gunk. If you hear your chain squeaking or it appears very dirty or very dry, relube!
Get lights. Bike lights come in two main categories: lights to see by and lights to be seen by.
If you’re riding in urban environments, the streetlights are often enough to see by, but you still need some good flashing white (front) and red (rear) lights so that you’re easily seen by other road users. It’s common sense, and it’s the law. Basic light sets like the Reid Accessories Small LED Light Set are a good place to start. They also make an excellent back-up pair to leave at work, just in case you get caught out and end up riding home in the dark. For an even brighter option, something like the X-Tech Front and Rear Light Set which has good side-on visibility as well is a great way to go. It’s worth having some spares lying around, or clipping a couple of extras onto your helmet or backpack for massive visibility.
If you need to see in the dark, where there’s no light at all, a helmet or handlebar mounted light of at least 2 or 3 hundred lumens is great for most on-road and path riding. Look for USB rechargeable lights so you can top up the charge during the day, then blaze a trail at light. We’d suggest the X-Tech Ignite 240 Lumens Headlight or similar.
No one likes a wet bum. Fortunately, a solution isn’t far away.
Just a tenner will get you the Reid Basic Bicycle Mudguard, which clips onto virtually any bike at the seat-post or seat-tube and prevent WBS (wet bum syndrome).
For something fancier, a full front and rear clip-on set like the Zefal Deflectors (front and rear) or the Zefal Paragon (which requires the proper mudguard mounting lugs) can be a great way to go. Full length mudguards don’t just keep you dry, they also protect your drivetrain. If you’re not sure what will fit your bike, give Reid Cycles a buzz and we can discuss the best options.
4. Tyres, brakes and general condition
The change of seasons is a good time to remember to give your bike some love. Make sure that the brakes are in good working order with plenty of material left on the brake pads, and that your tyres aren’t worn out. The extra grip and puncture protection is worth double-checking. For some reason, people seem to get more punctures when it’s raining. It’s likely to be because more gunk is washed into the street, but some scientists* theorise that it’s because sharp materials become more lubricated and can puncture tyres more easily at a microscopic level.
It’s also worth checking the water-proof, water-repellent and high-visibility clothing options available from Reid Cycles. A few little things like a reflective slap-band for your trousers can keep you safer and more comfortable for very little outlay.
*By scientists, we mean some of the guys at Reid Cycles who talked about this over a beer.