Bike Shorts: Here’s Where You Shouldn’t Store Your Bike
Once upon a time, bicycles were simple, entirely mechanical contraptions. The parts and accessories you needed to pay attention to for maintenance were clear, and you could store your bike anywhere, as long as you kept it safe from getting wet. Garage or shed, it didn’t matter.
In the age of cell phones, smart devices, and rechargeable batteries, that’s not quite the case anymore. Our bikes have evolved too, and these changes add a few more things to keep in mind.
Fundamentally, where you should store your bike — and how you take care of some of its new components — has changed. Longtime cycling coach Darryl MacKenzie has been in the game long enough to evolve with these changes, too. Read on to learn how he’s adapted his routine and where you shouldn’t store your bike.
The Electronics That Power Our Rides
Your bike and its components have changed a lot over the last few decades as more electronic devices have been introduced.
“Our enjoyment of our bicycles is now intermingled with and enhanced by all these devices,” says Coach Darryl.
Consider a few things that have come along over that time:
- Cycling computers: These came along first and introduced navigational and trip-tracking capabilities to riders. But in the early days, they were clunky and didn’t have any built-in warnings for when to change batteries.
- Heart rate monitors: Unlike today’s computers, these early heart rate monitors were entirely separate from the navigational computer, with their own chunky batteries and no low-battery warnings.
- Lighting: Bike lights were a huge addition for cyclist safety. Now, it’s much easier than it once was to see and be seen on the road.
- Power meters: This more recent addition enables cyclists to get detailed data about how much power they put into pedaling. They’re great for helping you work toward training goals or even analyzing your pedaling while you rehab from a leg injury, as Darryl has recently.
- Electronic shifters: These make shifting much easier and more reliable, but they can be especially problematic if the batteries die during a ride.
As you can see from this list of developments, these devices have added a lot of benefits for cyclists. But they have also added a lot of batteries that need to be maintained and recharged. Today, the thinking cyclist must be strategic to keep a battery recharging station where they store their bike. When you put your bike up after a ride — not right before your next one — that’s the time to check all your batteries and recharge the ones that need it.
It May Be Time To Move Your Bike Inside
There’s more to think about than your recharging procedures, though. You also must consider how your storage environment will affect your batteries
For most rechargeable batteries, the ideal storage temperature is between 50 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Below this range, and you’ll temporarily reduce battery capacity, thus shortening how long they’ll last and risking running out of juice during a ride. Above 80 degrees, and you risk long-term damage to battery performance and life expectancy.
What does this mean for cyclists? If you live in a climate that sees extremes above and below that range, you need to make sure you keep your bike (and charging station) in a climate-controlled setting. That means a garage or shed probably isn’t best for battery performance — your bike needs to go somewhere in the house to set you up for success.
It’s Not Your Bike, It’s You
No one wants to get to a ride — or halfway through one — only to have their batteries die on an important cycling component. The good news is that this is almost entirely in your control.
“If you travel to your ride location and discover you don’t have battery power, it’s not a problem with the bike, it’s a problem with your charging and storage procedures,” says Darryl.
The solution is simple: Keep your bike parked in a climate-controlled environment with your charging station nearby. And recharge as needed after every ride — just remember not to charge when you don’t need to, as excessive charging can kill your battery life, too.
Looking for more tips on how to take care of your bike? Check out “The Serious Cyclist’s Guide to Routine Bike Maintenance.” Plus, you can always find more insights from Coach Darryl over at his website.
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