My bike was outside and it snowed. I thought it was ok because it was undercover but the tarp broke and now my bike is covered in snow.

I had 3 locks on it, 2 of them came off but one is frozen. I moved it inside now and am wondering what I should do?

I want to protect the bike from rust and corrosion. I'll start by knocking the snow off it, then wiping it down with a rag. I have a space heater that blows hot air I can point at it. Any parts in particular I should look out for, like cleaning the chain? It's a road bike.

  • Severely reduce dust by keeping the bike clean and dry and inside when not using it. A tarpaulin will get condensation, its only good for keeping bird poo off your stuff. Even a under a carport is better than outside.
    – Criggie
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 3:15
  • Wipe the chain and sprockets with a paper towel. Also wipe off as much moisture as you can on the rest of the bike. Lubricate the chain if you've neglected that. Otherwise, the bike should be fine. Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 3:53
  • 6
    If you find your bike frozen and want to cycle away, don't forget to check the brakes ! The cable might have froze.
    – Antzi
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 5:49
  • @Criggie - that can be worse, esp. in cold climates. I have a decent number of nights where I end up coming home for maybe 4-5 hours, and bringing in the bike into my apt and taking it out would probably leave me with no brakes when its parked at work.
    – Batman
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 17:43

2 Answers 2


Let it air dry (and/or wipe it dry as much as you can) and move on with your life. Don't put it near a heater, cause that isn't good for the rubber stuff. Re-lube the chain.

What gets you in winter is not so much the snow/ice, but the salt (which doesn't affect your bike if its just standing there). In this case, if you have the time and space to bring the bike in for a prolonged period of time (say, overnight), you can wipe down the frame with a damp cloth, maybe clean+lube the chain and drivetrain and other parts you would do routinely (e.g. brake pivots if you're using V-brakes; I usually have to take the v-brakes off and clean the posts and what not at least a few times in a winter).

Also, note that you can't rust out an aluminum bike, and this shouldn't really have caused a problem for a steel bike. A lot of people have bikes (steel or otherwise) which they leave out through winters and salt and survive fine for decades.

  • 3
    Perhaps the frame doesn't rust, but other parts certainly do (and that's not good for the bike overall). For example I have rusted screws.
    – snowchym
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 7:33
  • @snowchym - aesthetic rust isn't a big deal.
    – Batman
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 13:47
  • look for cracks in the frame as well, if smaller tubes especially got filled with water and then froze, the ice will expand and crack the frame (also crappy suspension forks with weak seals)
    – Paul
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 18:51
  • @Paul - i'm having a hard time seeing how that could happen.
    – Batman
    Commented Feb 11, 2017 at 16:29

Some WD-40 might help for the frozen lock once it has thawed. For the frame, you might consider putting some car wax on it for some extra protection. Don't forget to remove the seat to and grease the seatpost.

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