Despite being thoroughly treated to prevent oxidation, with prolonged exposure to ice, salt and other watery conditions, the metal components of your bike or scooter can prematurely wear and break. No problem, you’re careful to wipe it down after getting caught in a rainstorm and you never use harsh cleaners on it. When cold weather hits, especially snow and ice, it becomes even more important to take proper care of your bike because of one huge danger: salt, road salt to be exact. But if you’re an urban commuter who relies on a bicycle or kick scooter as your main method of transportation, you can’t exactly take the winter off.
So what’s a commuter to do? Use the following tips and tricks to weather the season and ward off winter-related problems before they cause serious maintenance issues.
Xootr’s Cold Weather Care Guide
Tip 1: Salt Kills
Salt, especially road salt that’s composed of a mix of different chemicals to melt frozen roadways, is one of if not the biggest cold weather danger for a bike or kick scooter. Even though all metal components on your vehicle have been treated to withstand and prevent oxidation, nothing is salt-proof. Salt will corrode the anti-oxidation treatment and can cause metal bearings and other components to age prematurely, or worse, to break while you’re riding. If you’re already in the habit of wiping down your vehicle after every ride we applaud you. If not, get into it. During the cold weather, when chemicals and road salt are everywhere, it’s crucial to rinse off your ride when you’re finished riding for the day. Even if it doesn’t look like there’s an accumulation of road salt or crud on it, give it a good wash anyway. It doesn’t take long for rust and oxidation to start once your ride’s been compromised.
Tip 2: Gear Up
Getting your ride on in cold weather isn’t fun, and without the right gear it can be downright unbearable. So before you start worrying about your ride, it’s important that you take care of your body. Whenever you’re getting ready to go out in the cold always make sure you’ve got on thick socks, protective gear, and gloves. If your fingers and toes are too cold to ride your ability to remain in control and brake properly can be affected. If your digits tend to get extremely cold, throw a couple HotHands warmers in your socks and gloves. Or, splurge a little and buy a pair of battery operated, heated gloves!
Tip 3: Give Yourself Enough Travel Time
When icy or rainy cold weather conditions strike, plan for your regular commutes to take a little bit longer. Be sure to plan accordingly and give yourself extra time to travel. Not only can ice, snow and rain inhibit vision and destroy sidewalks, it can make for an extra slippery ride. Don’t ride at top speeds during inclement weather, even though your Xootr or Swift has high-performance, custom made wheels. Even the best wheels can skid and slide, especially around corners.
Tip 4: Check Your Equipment Before and After
Just like when traveling in a car in the snow, the key to safety lies in the tire tread. For bike riders this means checking out your tires before going out to make sure there’s enough tread to keep you on the road and in control. Aside from the wheels, you should always check the brake line for proper tension. This becomes even more important in cold-to-freezing conditions when the brake line can become slightly more brittle and easier to kink and crack.
Now that you know the basic cold weather care tips for your kick scooter or bike, you aren’t allowed to use cold weather as an excuse to stay inside! Check that equipment, bundle up, and enjoy your ride whatever the season!