How to clean your bike

With the wetter weather your mountain bike rides on off road and on trails are becoming muddier than ever. Cleaning your bike, just for it to get muddy again may not make a lot of sense but it’s certainly the best thing to do, if you want your mountain bike to stay in a good condition and run smoothly.

Get prepared for a dirty job with the correct cleaning supplies

To clean your bike, there are a few supplies that you will need:

  • 1 bucket
  • Hot water
  • Washing up liquid
  • Sponges, brushes and cloths
  • Chain scrubber
  • toothbrush
  • Chain lubricant
  • Degreasing solvent
  • Repair stand (if you have one, makes cleaning the bike much easier)

Time to clean? Where to start?

Clean

The first thing you should do is remove items such as leaves that may have gotten caught in your bike. Wipe down the entire bike with soapy water and apply a degreaser to the drivetrain. Gently use your sponges, brushes and cloths to get rid of any mud and grit. Scrubbing too hard could damage your bikes paintwork. If you have a repair stand, use this to remove the wheels and clean these separately.

Use a toothbrush to scrub the chain and rear cassette, use a rag to wipe the chain clean and remove any excess dirt. Once you have done this backpedal the chain through a rag covered in degreaser.

Wash the rest of your bike with a soap and water mix and rinse it down with an ordinary garden hose. Do not use a high pressure hose or power washer on your bike, as water may push itself past the bearing seal and this may cause corrosion.

Lubricate

When your bike has dried, you will need to lubricate the chain, cables, levers, shifters, derail pulleys and pivot points. Never use an ordinary household lubricant on your bike, you should always use a lubricant purposely made for bike chains. In autumn weather a wet condition lubricant would be the best choice for your bike, due to the amount of rainfall that usually occurs. Make sure any excess lubricant is wiped off the bike as this can attract dirt.

While you are cleaning your bike, it’s a good idea to check for signs of damage on wheel rims, spokes, spoke holes and tyres. Now is a good time to give your bike a general inspection and feel free to give the bike frame a good buff, to get it shining. Once you’ve cleaned your bike, you’ll be surprised at how good it feels to get back on it, not only will it look great, it will certainly feel it too.

The perfect place to carry out that necessary bike maintenance

You will need to have a decent amount of outdoor space to clean your bike and doing this inside obviously isn’t an option, unless you like mud coloured carpets! Having somewhere to store all of these bike cleaning and maintenance items is also a good idea. A garage is a good place to store all of your bike maintenance equipment, accessories and of course your bikes. If you don’t have a garage, there are a variety of garden bike sheds and cycle storage units available on the market. The bike maintenance garage by Asgard has been designed to do just that! This is a large cycle garage that can hold up to 6 bikes, with shelves and hooks to maximise storage space and it is large enough to carry out necessary bike maintenance. The cycle garage is made from strong weatherproof steel, so your stored items will be safe and dry. Having all of your bike items stored under one roof is a lot less hassle than traipsing in and out of the house every other minute for items you’ve forgotten.

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National Home Security Month: Outdoor Security

It’s the 4th week of National Home Security Month. This week is focussed on outside protection and as you know, here at Asgard we know all about that!  During the winter it is especially important to keep your outdoor items safe and secure, as the cover of darkness gives burglars and thieves more opportunities to strike.

Garden sheds and garages are easy targets for thieves, as they can be quickly broken into without disturbing the household. These type of thieves can strike without you even knowing its happened, so it is important to make sure you have provided your garden shed or garage with the best possible defences.  Think of all of the expensive equipment you have stored inside your shed, power tools, lawnmowers, bikes and the children’s toys. These would be costly to replace and your insurance may not cover it.

Don't make it easy for thieves to get in your garden shed

Don’t make it easy for thieves to get in your garden shed

How to keep your garden shed or garage safe:

  • Always lock your shed/garage – this is simple and easy to do, but you’d be surprised at how many people forget.
  • Secure shed doors by fitting a strong hasp and staple.
  • Secure shed door hinges with coach bolts or non-turnable screws.
  • Replace any rotten wood – as this is easy to break.
  • Fit alarm to your garage or shed – try this motion sensor alarm.
  • Chain items such as bikes, ladders and lawnmowers to a strong anchor point.
  • Mark all items in your shed with your postcode.
  • Check that your insurance covers your shed/garage.

If your garden shed isn’t up to the task of storing your items securely and you want to increase the security of your items, then an Asgard high security garden shed is what you need. These tough metal storage units have been designed to stop thieves in their tracks and leave your garden items safe!

High security garden storage.

High security garden storage.

Asgard high security garden sheds are available in a selection of sizes and have been approved by the Loss Prevention Certification Board to Level 1, which may help to reduce insurance premiums.  To keep all of your items safe, these sheds are made from weatherproof steel and are fitted with a number of heavy duty features including a 5 point locking system and reinforced components.

How to prepare your bike for the winter

How to protect your bike from the snow

Asgard have been producing the best in cycle storage for many years.  The recent bad weather holds no fear for the owners of Asgard bike stores!!!   Here are some tips on how to prepare your bike for long term winter storage.

How to prepare your cycle for winter storage.

When it comes to bike maintenance, there are two kinds of cyclists—those intimate with their bikes, who lovingly wash, lubricate and maintain their trusty steed throughout the cycling season—and the normal people.

Do you need to lubricate the cables or chain before storing the bike?

My tip is if you are not using your bike for a while – Keep everything lubricated.

If you are not planning to use your bike for some months, make sure you clean your bike thoroughly! 

Get ALL the dirt off, dirt will rust your bike, if it becomes damp through the winter.

Then, lubricate the chain and other mechanisms.  DO NOT USE WD40,

You should always use bike specific lubricants such as GT85 and Finish line oils.  These are not expensive (£7.00 for both). WD40 attracts all sorts of yukky stuff and will soon clog up your mechanism one you start cycling again.

I use paint thinner (meths) to clean my chain right down, then thoroughly oil it up.  This prevents any of the links from rusting or becoming stiff.  You can buy a chain cleaner from ebay for around £5 that clamps to your bike and brushes your chain clean in seconds.  Use plenty of oil after, then lightly rub the excess off.

A drop of thin oil inside the brake lever mechanism will help to keep them in tip top shape. Preventing seizure.

I then spray some GT85 on a rag and rub all the body work down, GT85 acts as a cleaning/polishing agent AND will give your bike an extra bit of protection.

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Should the tires be inflated or deflated?

They should be inflated. They will deflate over the winter months. If you store your bike in an unheated garage you can take the tires off and bring them inside to a heated area. This will protect the rubber on the tires.

Should I hang the bike up?

You can hang your bike on a wall or ceiling, or just turn it upside down so there’s no weight on the tires.

Will direct sunlight harm the bike?

Don’t store your bike in direct sunlight. Unless your windows are new and UV protected, sunlight can dry and split the side walls of the tires.

Do steel-frame bikes need any special attention in the winter months?

If steel-frame bicycles are left in an unheated garage the metal can get cold enough for condensation to build up inside the tubing. This causes rusting. It’s best to store these bikes in a heated area, or pre-treat the steel frame with rust-proofing oil.  Should you use an Asgard bike store you can be sure that condensation will be kept to a minimum, due to the hidden roof vents and spacious design.  If in doubt, a bag of salt left in the shed/garage will absorb any moisture in the air.

What about other bike bits?

Take the batteries out of any lights, a little squirt of GT85 in any bike tools will keep them in good order.

Make sure you wash the liner of your bike helmet to remove any bacteria (Milton Fluid is great for this) this will stop the helmet from smelling.

Wash your riding shoes well.  Again, any dry mud mixed with light dampness will just rot the shoes through the winter.

 

Bike Storage in the SNOW

Keep It Simple

If you are lazy or don’t have the time to do the above, simply take the bike to your local bike shop.  For around £30 they will prepare your bike ready for winter, then lock it up in your bike shed and wait for the sun!

 

Keep your bike dry and safe through the winter.

 

Choosing the best safe for your valuables

The third week of National Home Security Month is focussing on protecting the valuables inside your home. By valuables, we mean the things that cannot be easily replaced such as cash, jewellery and family heirlooms. You may think that hiding these items under the bead, in your freezer or in your dresser draw is sufficient, but you’ll be surprised at how quickly an experience burglar will find these items.

The best and most secure way to keep your valuables safe is by storing them in a safe. Who’d have thought it? There are a variety of safes on the market and it can be difficult to know where to start, when choosing the best one for your home but we’re here to make it simple for you.

Security safes are categorised in ‘Cash Ratings’. Cash Ratings are the monetary amount an insurance underwriter would usually insure the contents of the safe for. For some valuables and most jewellery this figure would be multiplied by 10. For example, a £5,000 cash rated safe would be fine to store that amount of currency or £50,000 worth of jewellery.

Safe grades and cash ratings

Grade 0: £6000
Grade 1: £10,000
Grade 2: £17,500
Grade 3: £35,000
Grade 4: £60,000
Grade 5: £100,000
Grade 6: £150,000
Grade 7: £250,000
Grade 8: £400,000
Grade 9: £650,000
Grade 10: £1,000,000
Grade 11: £1,500,000
Grade 12: £2,250,000
Grade 13: £3,500,000

Protect your valuables in a home safe

Protect your valuables in a home safe

For reassurance of your safes security, it should be tested by the ECBS and Sold Secure or the Loss Prevention Certification Board.

Fire resistance

Don’t assume the safe you pick will be fire resistant.  Most safes offer some level of fire resistance, however reasonable levels of fire protection are only provided by properly certified models. Your fire resistant safe should have a certificate from the LFS (new European standard for safes), SP (highly reputable Swedish laboratory) or the UL (an American laboratory).

Safe locking mechanism

Stay clear of safes that have combination locks and cheap electronic locks. Any electronic safe less than £100 can be opened using basic tools. Higher security electronic locks offer a variety of features such as multiple user codes, time delay, time locks and audit trails giving a history of the lock’s usage.

Fitting a safe

A safe is only as secure as its fixings. If you want the best security, it is best to get your safe installed by a professional. Your safe should be secured against two walls, to stop it being rocked from its fixings.

So what are you waiting for? Remove all of the valuables hiding under your bed and store them in a secure safe today.

 

How to prepare for cycling in the dark

With winter drawing near it is important to make sure you are prepared for the dark mornings and nights, if you are commuting by bike.

Around 17,000 cyclists are killed or injured in road accidents each year. Statistics have revealed that there is a higher rate of cycling casualties between October and February. During these months the sun rises much later, usually after 8am and the sunsets much earlier from any time after 3:30pm. This means that people who commute by bike are likely to spend most of it in the dark.

25% of cycling accidents occur due to the cyclist having a lack of safety equipment. Don’t cycle in the dark, without the proper equipment and lights. Make sure you can be seen.

Staying visible in the dark

Wear bright colours so you can be seen.

Wear bright colours so you can be seen.

  • Wear bright-coloured or fluorescent clothing, or a high visibility vest.
  • Wear reflective accessories, such as a belt or arm/ankle bands.
  • Ensure your bike has a reliable white front light, rear red light, rear red reflector and amber pedal reflectors.

What is the crime risk in your area?

National Home Security Month is officially here and this week is all about knowing the level of crime risk in your area.

National Home Security Month has launched a free crime watcher app, available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play, which displays burglary statistics within a mile of your home during a one month period.

Another way to find out more about the crime where you live is by using the police.uk website. Easy and simple to use, all you have to do is enter your postcode and it will bring up all of the crimes in your area, featuring everything from anti-social behaviour to burglary.

You might be surprised at what the figures reveal. If these figures are worse than you thought they would be, now isn’t the time to panic. Use this information to appropriately secure your home and avoid becoming another statistic.

Protecting your home from thieves

Keep thieves out of your home

How to easily keep your home secure

Fit an alarm

I’ve found that the mere presence of an alarm acts as a deterrent to thieves. An alarm on the front of your home, will be one of the first things than an attempting burglar will see and could mean the difference between getting burgled and not.

Always close and lock your windows and doors

Never leave your windows open when you aren’t home and always make sure your doors and windows are locked, even if you are just out in the garden. You wouldn’t believe how quickly an expert thief can get into your home and take your most valuable and expensive items.

I had a neighbour who always left her back door open during the summer, needless to say that she was burgled a couple of times while she was home. Moral of the story, don’t risk it, lock it!

Protect your home this winter

Protect your home this winter

Keep your home well lit

As the dark nights draw near, light will be one of your closest allies. Don’t leave your house in complete darkness. An outdoor security light is a must have item to deter thieves, it is also a good idea to leave one light on inside your home when you are out.