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  1. #1
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    Rain Riding and Maintenance

    I've been too scared to ride in the rain because I only have one bike with ancient parts and I'm too broke to properly maintain and replace parts. How bad is it for the bike and what steps should you do post-ride? All this rain has got new bummed and I just wanna get out...
    "you got to be a little crazy to stay sane..."

    In '97 I swore I'd never ride a road bike, what happened?

    // Frankenstein '01 Cannondale 5200

  2. #2
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    I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and still live here. That's 63 years experience with constant damp.

    Wipe everything dry when you get home. Clean what looks dirty. Lube the chain, etc. when they need it.

    If you don't store your old bike out in the weather a little rain now and then isn't going to hurt it at all.

  3. #3
    Cycling induced anoesis
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    Agree with SGMDWK, but beyond that, if you're too broke to properly maintain your bike, it's only a matter of time before you don't have one to ride.

    Even minimal maintenance beats no maintenance.

  4. #4
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    First of all, you should try your level best to locate a bicycle co-op. It is imperative that you learn how to perform basic maintenance upon your bicycle. That's for safety reasons, if no others. You must know how to inspect your tires and brakes. You must know how to tighten your handlebar. You simply must know how to change a flat tire. These things you can easily learn with your very own bike, at a bicycle co-op. Learn how to completely disassemble and reassemble your bike. This will significantly bolster your confidence in bicycle mechanics and will inspire you to properly maintain your bicycle.
    A chromoly steel bicycle will last just as long as titanium, if kept dry.

  5. #5
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    Re: Rain Riding and Maintenance

    thanks for the tips. I'd like to put it out there that I know how to do maintenance and I do do basic maintenance on my ride. I love my bike and am doing everything within my budget to keep it clean and strong. Everything on my road bike just feels so delicate that it makes me nervous to the point of if I'm doing enough. In my DH days, it was ride in the rain and mud, maybe dry and lube if I was feeling upto it, otherwise parts would break fast enough where maintenance was minimal
    "you got to be a little crazy to stay sane..."

    In '97 I swore I'd never ride a road bike, what happened?

    // Frankenstein '01 Cannondale 5200

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffyh View Post
    thanks for the tips. I'd like to put it out there that I know how to do maintenance and I do do basic maintenance on my ride. I love my bike and am doing everything within my budget to keep it clean and strong. Everything on my road bike just feels so delicate that it makes me nervous to the point of if I'm doing enough. In my DH days, it was ride in the rain and mud, maybe dry and lube if I was feeling upto it, otherwise parts would break fast enough where maintenance was minimal
    A common feeling, but an illusion. Those parts are far more robust than you think. Riding in the rain will not make the bike fall apart. Lubing the chain more frequently is the biggest thing. Other moving parts (brake and derailleur pivots and the like) ditto, but it's not necessary to clean and lube every time they get wet. The heavy-load moving parts like hub and bb bearings are pretty well sealed to keep out water. A lot of wet riding will increase the frequency of overhauls, but an occasional soaker won't do much.

    There are reasons to be concerned about riding in the rain, but they involve changes in riding practices to deal with impaired braking efficiency, poor traction in turns, and poor visibility (both the rider and the drivers around him). But the bike won't fall apart.
    Ubuntu: I am what I am because of who we all are.

  7. #7
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    A lot depends on the parts and luck.

    My last commuter bike was left outside 365 days year in a city with real winters next to the ocean for 4 years straight and it never had a problem. This was a 1992 bike, who knows what it went though before I bought it. And at best I'd lube the chain 5 times a year.
    On the flip side I know people who have messed up bearings from just one particular ride in the rain (or so the claim goes).

    The point being, there's no real way to say.

  8. #8
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    Re: Rain Riding and Maintenance

    So I did a little ride in nyc after work and got caught in a couple storms and ate asphalt twice. Are there any implications to salty rain on parts? It was noticeably salty. I figure I should at least hose down the bike and dry it and put some chain lube on.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    There are reasons to be concerned about riding in the rain, but they involve changes in riding practices to deal with impaired braking efficiency, poor traction in turns, and poor visibility (both the rider and the drivers around him). But the bike won't fall apart.
    On JCavilia's advice, I learned the hard way that cobblestone and certain rock surfaces offer extremely little grip w road tires and that rolling on a CO2 cartridge hurts like a mofo. Will definitely be more thoughtful of banking in turns in the rain...

    All in all, it was still definitely a fun ride. Thanks for appeasing my fears, guys.
    "you got to be a little crazy to stay sane..."

    In '97 I swore I'd never ride a road bike, what happened?

    // Frankenstein '01 Cannondale 5200

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffyh View Post
    I've been too scared to ride in the rain because I only have one bike with ancient parts and I'm too broke to properly maintain and replace parts. How bad is it for the bike and what steps should you do post-ride? All this rain has got new bummed and I just wanna get out...
    You can easily maintain you bike without any or a lot of money...

  10. #10
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    If your bike frame is made of aluminum, you have much less to fear from rust. That's whether the water is salty or not. OTOH, if your bike is made of steel, I would suggest that you give your bike a quick 10 sec hose down (focus on the BB, headset, tubes, and stays). Finally, wipe her dry, check your chain for debris, and give her a quick shot of lube. Always wipe the bike dry, no matter what the frame material...Also, caked salt containing crud is much more harmful than just salty water. Whenever you see mud or crud, get rid of it immediately. The crud contains salt or ionic compounds, each with varying oxidation potentials.
    A chromoly steel bicycle will last just as long as titanium, if kept dry.

  11. #11
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    Even with rain and road salt involved, you should get a much better service life from parts ridden exclusively on the road than from parts on a bike ridden off-road.

    If you don't already know about it, check out parktool.com for specific, well-illustrated instructions for every maintenance task on a road bike.

    +1 to keeping the chain clean and lubricated.

    When you replace a chain, take a moment to feel your bearings. Depending on the age and spec level of the bike, they may benefit from being cleaned and rebuilt every couple of years. This may need to be more frequent if the seals aren't too good and you're in downpours a lot.

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