It really has turned to winter out there, a typical British winter and we all know how hard it is or us cyclists when this weather really kicks in. Its not just the cold or the snow or even the wind (although this can be worse than the first two put together) its the damage all of it can do to you and your bicycle.
The cold can really affect cyclists particularly extremities so make sure you have some good quality waterproof gloves, keep your neck warm with a scarf and wear a hat if your not wearing a helmet. For longer journeys layering your clothes will really help keep out the cold, use a good base layer and then overlay with a t'shirt or jersey and then use a windproof jacket to top it off. Keeping the legs warm can be more difficult but they are doing most of the work so tend not to get cold until you stop, a pair of running leggings or some long johns under your trousers will add a little more protection.
As for your bike, if you ride in the winter its going to take a hammering and you need to be prepared to get some key componants changed in the spring. Brake pads tend to wear out a lot quicker on rim brakes, the salt and grit can really get in between the rim and pad and wear them both down quicker. The chain will also start to rust if not kept well oiled, the salt will also react with moisture to create the a white crust on the outside if left for any period after a ride. Try to give your bike a clean every week in these conditions and remember to oil the key componants after.
As for which oil to use we recommend a wet lube in winter conditions for everyday riding there are so many choices on the market it is sometimes difficult to see the difference. So let us help you.
The aim of oiling componants is to keep out water and dirt while providing a near fricition environment for moving parts to move in and thus prevent wear.
We stock a number of quality oils at the shop and all have their different styles.
Weldtite TF2 is a commonly used oil, you'll see it in loads of shops and mechanics bays. Its a good quality oil with a decent medium consistency it comes in a squeezy bottle but you barely need to apply any pressure to get the oil out. It also comes as a spray which is handy for those more difficult to reach joints like the front derailleur.
Pure is Weldtite's environmentally friendly range of oils using only natural ingredients, this is quite a loose oil so can tend to come out of the bottle quicker than others. Its a good quality oil though and coats the parts well but you may need to use it a little more frequently because of that.
Muc-Off wet lube comes in a distinctive bottle it also smells of fruit and is blue in colour all this while oiling your chain really well. Again this has a medium to light consistency and so goes on easily and the long thin nozzle helps with application.
And finally we have Roloff oil, this is what we use in the workshop when your bike comes in for a service. Its a heavy consistency so tends to be more sticky than other oils so stays on componants longer but it also makes it easy to control how much you apply. The bottle is small but with correct application will last as long as the others.
There are lots more products out there on the market and we couldn't review them all, the key to keeping your bike in functioning order during these harsh weather conditions is to keep it clean and keep it oiled. You'll need to replace somethings after the winter but by keeping your bike maintained it will limit the damage and keep you going.