Bicycles are deceptively sturdy. Since they are used mostly outdoors, many people think they can just leave them stored for months without the risk of damage. Unfortunately, that will only be the case if you prepare your bike appropriately. Do you have some bicycles you need to store for several months? If so, follow these tips to keep your bikes safe and functional for the duration of storage:
Wash and Clean the Bike
Most items need to be cleaned and dried before storage, and a bicycle is no exception. Wash and wipe the bike dry to reduce the risk of corrosion and grime buildup. Use a small brush on parts of the bike that seems to attract dust and grime the most such as joints, wheels, brakes, mudguards and similar places.
Remove All the Attachments
Don't store the bike with anything that isn't an integral part of the bike. Detach things like water bottles or electronics (such as timers or calorie counters attached to the bike) and store them separately. That way you don't risk damaging the attachments in storage.
Protect the Tires
Storing your bike with deflated tires is bad because the weight of the bike can deform them. In fact, the ideal way to store a bike is to hang it and relieve the pressure on the tires. A further advantage to hanging the bike is that you can use the rest of the storage space for other items. Hanging isn't always practical, however, so the next best thing is to inflate the tires properly so that the rims won't be distorted. For long term storage, confirm that the tires don't have a slow puncture that may deflate them with time.
Lubricate the Necessary Parts
Rust is the number one enemy of stored bikes. Rust on the moving parts, such as chains, is particularly dangerous since it increases friction and the risk of damage. Washing and drying the bike is just one part of keeping rust at bay, but it isn't enough. Go the extra mile and lubricate the relevant areas; lubrication prevents rust by keeping moisture at bay.
Hopefully, the above tips will help you find your bike in the same operational condition after long term storage. Unfortunately, all the above precautions will not help you much if you end up storing your bike in the wrong place. Identify a secure self-storage facility (you can talk to the manager about the security measures in place) to avoid bike damage in storage.