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I have to leave my bike outside at work for 8-10 hours at a time.

If it's -3°C or -6°C, is there anything special I need to do to ensure it will still ride when I'm ready to go home? i.e., will it freeze up?

Also, I can bring it inside at home but I read somewhere that the constant defrosting/refrosting could be worse than just leaving it out in the cold 24/7. Is this true?

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Frequently lubing your components (especially your chain) is crucial in cold weather. Lube (which won't freeze) pushes out water (which does). Besides the protection against freezing, it also will help extend the life of your components even in the face of sand, salt, and gravel debris from cities deicing the roads. Fenders with mud flaps are useful as well, as they will protect your drivetrain from slush. Basically, anything you can do to keep the bike's componentry dry is crucial.

To this end, I would bring the bike inside overnight every day in order to warm it up. This lets water drip off of it, and you can wipe off any that's left with a pile of used rags before you take it on the road each day.

The temperature flux might cause wear on the components, but I suspect the amount pales in comparison to the damage done by freezing (ice expands, putting pressure where it shouldn't go), salt (which corrodes steel), and sand (which prematurely wears components due to grinding).

  • Bringing the bike inside would encourage condensation to collect on it (and inside components). Probably better to leave it outside, if it has no ice on it. – Daniel R Hicks Nov 21 '11 at 0:19
  • Leaving it outside is guaranteeing it getting damp and frozen, IMHO. At least by bringing it inside, you have the opportunity to let it unfreeze and wipe it down. – Stephen Touset Nov 21 '11 at 19:17
  • Depends on how long, and how humid it is inside. If you bring the bike in for 2-3 hours that's probably worse than leaving it outside. Overnight might be OK, though. – Daniel R Hicks Nov 22 '11 at 0:31
  • Agree 100%. Clarified my post. – Stephen Touset Nov 22 '11 at 4:06
  • @DanielRHicks is correct. Length of time is everything. If you commute in freezing temperatures, bringing your bike inside for a work shift (6+ hours) or overnight is fine. This allows the bike to fully come to room temperature and condensation, etc, to dissipate. Anything less can be damaging. – Deleted User Nov 4 '16 at 17:39
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To add to what Stephen said, I would use a wet lube as opposed to a dry lube.

  • 100% in agreement. – Stephen Touset Nov 20 '11 at 23:13
  • This is not a stand-alone answer. TBH it should have been a comment on Stephen's answer, and you might want to expand it with "why a wet lube would be superior to a dry lube" given OP's temperature range. – Criggie Nov 5 '16 at 3:18

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