Winter bike polo is unpredictable. Balls harden and hop like mad. Black ice rears its ugly head on the court. Fingers numb until you can’t feel your brake lever. But compared to the alternative—no bike polo—it suffices. So before the winter really sets in, it’s important to prepare for the harsh cold.
This stuff is supposed to save your frame from rusting inside and out. To apply it, you’ll have to strip your polo bike of everything, clean it and its orifices, then apply the spray. If you’re in a region that gets extra wet during the winter, it’ll pay off in the long run. You likely spend a good chunk of time and money on your polo bike, so why not protect it from the elements as best you can? It looks like you can find a can for about $10 and it should have enough spray for up to five frames.
Just because your polo bike gets soaked doesn’t mean you have to. Those commuter-friendly clip-on fenders will save your butt and back from some grimy wetness. If you’re lucky enough, your local bike shop tosses a few used fenders like this in a bargain bin. Otherwise, expect to spend about $20. No matter what fender you snap on for the ride to your courts, take ‘em off before you play!
Clean your bike. It’s good for it. It’s good for you. It’s therapeutic, no matter what season. Put your steed away clean—never dirty. Winter mucks up bicycles more than any season. Stock up on something to clean your bike. My favorite spray is silicone-based, which allows it wipe away mud chunks without any elbow grease. Anything will do, even a household cleaner.
For your chain, buy degreaser and lube. Wipe your chain after you play in snow, sleet or rain. Give it some lube if it’s thirsty, but always make sure there’s no excess lube for dirt to cling. Keep your rims fresh, too. When they get wet and filthy, sandpaper the rims with a medium grit and wipe them off with rubbing alcohol and a clean rag. Investing in cleaning supplies shouldn’t cost more than $15. Most of it will last awhile anyway.
Days get shorter from the day summer stars until the day winter starts. Be ready to ride to and from the courts in the dark. Affix the light mounts on your bike so the mounts themselves won’t cause any harm on the court. Better yet, find a magnetic light you can smack on the brake bridge or elsewhere. Again, remember to take your illumination off your polo bike before play. Lights that make drivers see you don’t go for too much. A front and rear set at our local bike shop goes for $15.
When it’s brutally cold, get some of those toe warmers for pickup. To keep your fingers warm, wear glove liners under your playing gloves. Another mandatory item for winter bike polo is some Jack or one of his buddies.
What do you do to prepare for winter bike polo?