Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How to Protect Beach Cruiser Bicycles From Salt Water Damage

Spending time down in the Carolinas on vacation, I have seen a lot of bicycles suffer tremendous wear and tear due to sand, salt, water, and other elements. The salt air alone can quickly degrade a bicycle to an unusable state if not properly cared for. Most bicycles no matter how much TLC you offer them will eventually show some rust. Given the humidity and the salt air conditions, surface rust can appear in as little as a few weeks after bringing a new bike to the coast.  Rust on the surface will eventually slow down and serve more as an appearance nuisance than hinder your ability to ride the bike. If one is really afraid of getting rust on the bike, then consider rust proofing the bike starting with the inside tubing of the frame. That process involves taking the bike apart. That also is a prime reason why people on the coast ride beach cruisers obtained for a few hundred bucks knowing they will have a shorter life span. Those that have bikes on the coast can follow some of these easy tips to keep the bike in decent shape.

1.       Storage - Even if you don’t ride the beach cruiser on the sand or in the sea, there is a tremendous amount of humidity that can wreak havoc on the bike. Store the bike in a garage when not in use.  Keeping that bike out on the porch all season will expose it to salt spray in the air created by the nearby surf.

2.       Rinsing & Drying - Rinse salt and sand off bike with fresh water hose after going for a seaside ride. The worst thing you can do is leave the salt or sand on the bike for long periods of time which can wear away at the bike. Dry the bike off with towel or compressed air after rinsing.

3.       Tires  - Keep tires properly inflated. Bike tires underinflated can cause damage to rims if the bike manages to hit a deep hole or crack. Pedaling is also much less of a chore when tires are properly inflated.

4.       Chain - After finishing a beach or trail ride, remove any grit or debris attached to chain and relubricate if necessary. Bike chains are usually the first integral bike part to be destroyed by salt. Plan on going through a few chains if you are planning on having the bike for a long time.

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