Back in January I cruelly abandoned my bike to the elements to see how long it would take for it all to stop working. Since then its been sitting in a damp, partly sheltered spot in the garden feeling really sorry for itself.
So, here it is. I dug it out today and was a bit surprised at how much of its no longer working, even with a quick glance I could see that the chain was going to be a bit of an issue. It was completely frozen in place, there was no movement at all in any
of the links. Had the chain been properly oiled before it was left this
shouldn't have been such an issue- but just prior to leaving it there
had been a spell of weather which had resulted in a whole load of
rocksalt being out on the road. This along with a few months of being exposed to our glorious weather had ruined it.
I've removed this now, but had to cut it off- if you return to your own bike and the chain looks like this, be careful not to damage the derailleur when you remove the chain.
Because of the state of the chain I've made sure that I've doubly checked every aspect of the bike ( if your not too sure what to do you could you this guide). Aside from replacing the chain, I've checked and re-greased the wheel/ pedal and bottom bracket bearings; as they've been standing I've checked the tyres for any perishing; I've also had to strip down the rear brake as it was sticking and have checked and oiled the gear and brake cables.
I think what i was most surprised by was the headset which was completely frozen- I've not had the chance to fix this yet but will be stripping it down this weekend to try and figure out why.
So what did I learn? In order to put the bike back on the road again its going to take a couple of hours and quite a few pounds for bits and pieces- if it had been cleaned, oiled and stored well it probably would have only needed a check and a wipe over with an old rag. What I really did underestimate was how much damage salt can do to your bike, I was really surprised at how ruined my chain was. So next year I'll be investing in a good cleaner and lots of oil, I'd advise you to do the same.