Even with fenders, winter-spring riding is messy!The next few weeks winter to spring weather are challenging for you and your bike. It is especially hard for the avid rider, with the urge to get out and ride after a winter (especially this one) with very few riding opportunities. And is it is hard on your bike when you can ride, since the roads are still full of sand, salt and other ice-melting chemicals. Mix these with melting snow and rain, and they all combine to assault your bike’s frame and components, as well as your clothing. So here are a few tips for keeping everything running smoothly under less than ideal road conditions.

Some riders, like myself, have a second bike to ride set up for wet riding. In my case, I have my touring bike equipped with full fenders. A touring or endurance bike is likely to have eyelets and clearance for mounting fenders, as well as space for wider tires. If you bike will accept them, SKS Chromoplastic fenders ($47.99) are full coverage for the front and rear wheel.

If you road bike does not accept full fenders, many models of clip-on, partial fenders are available. They are not a total solution, but will reduce what ends up on you, your bike, and the riders behind you. For road riders, you can try Planet Bike Clip Fenders ($19.99 at Bicycle Garage Indy) . For the off-road a variety of products a available, like the Planet Bike Freddy Fenders Clip-Ons (ATB) ($19.99)

SKS Fenders at Bicycle Garage IndyOn the road, be aware that any puddle can now hide a chuck hole. After the melt, your favorite corners are sure to have accumulated sand, another reason for spring caution. And now more than ever, check your tire pressure, and check for tire damage before you ride. Wider tires, 700×28 or larger are not a bad idea in early spring, since the extra tire gives some extra insurance against winter road damage, along with extra flat protection

Try to hose your bike off after every ride to keep the sand and salt from eating away your bike. You may also want to put a drop of on the threads of you bottle cage bolts, to keep them free and help seal moisture out of the frame. Regularly cleaning and lubing with a dry lube will also help your chain to last longer.

You will find fenders, lubes and a complete selection of spring riding accessories at Bicycle Garage Indy’s two locations, North (Indianapolis, in the Clearwater area on 82nd St.) and South (just west of I-65 on County Line Rd, Greenwood)