Good storage is the best maintenance plan

out of the way and the weather keeps your bike trouble-free.In pre-metric days they used to say an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. When it comes to your cycling gear, the way you store it can certainly save you a lot of maintenance trouble.

There are likely to be quite a few shiny new bikes appear at Christmas. Where do you plan to keep them? The ideal place is in a garage or shed. It’s out of the sun and weather, so your moving parts, and fittings will last longer. It’s out of sight too, which reduces the risk of theft.

There’s many a cyclist so enamoured of the new machine that it lives in the bedroom or kitchen, so it can be admired. But if you’ve got a household of cyclists, things might get a bit crowded! Even the garage can get cluttered. Hooks or storage racks are a good option here. You’ll see some nifty racks for storing multiple bikes advertised in most cycling magazines.

If you do opt for racks or hooks where you hang your bike by a wheel, make sure it’s the back wheel. You’ll often see photos of bikes neatly hanging from the front wheel. But it’s much easier to pick up a bike by the rear stays because it doesn’t move around like the front wheel. It’s also much stronger – the weight is put on the triangular part of the frame, rather than your front forks.

The important thing is to have a place where your bike lives, where it won’t get knocked, wet or dirty. It’s a good way to help your kids learn to look after their possessions too.

Your next main bit of cycling gear is your helmet. It’s designed to take one impact – only one. Wherever you keep it, make sure it’s out of harm’s way so it doesn’t get knocked about. Kicking around on the garage bench or under the bed with the football and Lego set is not ideal. Sitting on its own shelf is perfect. It’s best not to hang it by the straps because they can stretch and move. Getting them right again can be a fiddly job.

For something that’s designed to be worn outdoors, it seems silly to say store out of the sun, but it will last longer if you do. Keep it away from dirt and solvents too. A clean, safe helmet will do its job when you really need it to.

See you on the road soon, God willing. Eddie Barkla

First published in the Bendigo Weekly Friday 8 December 2006

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