At the time of this writing, Summer is slowly winding down, and Fall is quickly showing up! This is generally when we start to think about how we are going to be storing all of the things we use throughout the summer, including our bikes!
We have a shed where we keep most of our outdoor equipment for the winter, like our kayaks, lawn mower, and of course the bicycles. So this got me thinking, will my bike rust in the shed?
In the end, a bike generally will not rust in the shed, as long as you take care of it, and store it correctly! Things like covering it up, and maintaining your bike play big parts in how well your bike will hold up in the shed.
Of course, keeping your bike in the shed is riskier than having it in your climate-controlled house, however, the risk is quite low. Now, let’s talk a little bit more about what might cause your bike to rust in the shed, and of course how you can keep this from happening!
Keeping an eye on the humidity
One big concern when storing your bicycle is going to be the humidity in your area! If you live in high humidity areas like the southeast USA you likely will have a lot of condensation on your bike, even if it is left in the shed.
Why is that? Condensation forms in high humidity air and sits on your bike, which and in turn, will cause it to rust due to oxidation. We’ll talk a little later in the article about how to make sure that even though you may have to keep your bike in the shed, there are ways to keep it from rusting.
Water causes your bike to rust
When the water of any kind (although, salt water especially) comes into contact with metal, it causes a chemical reaction that leads to the formation of rust. This corrosive process can damage your bike in several ways.
First, rust weakens the metal, making it more susceptible to breakage. Second, rust can cause parts to bind or stick, making it difficult to pedal. Finally, rust can lead to pitting and flaking, which not only looks unsightly but can also make your bike more difficult to clean.
There are several ways to prevent rust from forming on your bike due to water and more, so we will dedicate the next section to working through that!
Top 5 ways to keep your bike from rusting in the shed
So how are you going to keep your bike in good condition throughout storing your bike in the shed? Here are some ideas, you can use some or all of them to make sure your bike is taken care of.
1. Keep your bike clean
Much like a car, or anything you own, keeping it clean will make it last considerably longer than if it isn’t clean. Before storing your bike in a shed long term, make sure you are keeping the bike clean after riding. The best way to do this is with a good, highly absorbent reusable rag. While an old shirt should work no problem, these microfiber cloths are always a great option!
2. Cover it up
This is the easiest way to keep your bike from rusting! A cover like a tarp, or something more specific to a bike like this bike cover here will keep condensation from settling on your bike.
Make sure to allow for a bit of airflow, so that if any condensation does make its way onto the covered bike, it has a way to dissipate.
3. Make sure there is airflow
Continuing from the last part, airflow is extremely important when it comes to rust on, really anything. Make sure your shed has that airflow by checking for a vent on the opposite side of the shed door. This will allow for air to enter through the door, and then leave again out that opening.
4. Spray it with a rust inhibitor spray
What happens if you want to further keep condensation from causing rust? Spray it with something like Boeshield T-9 (that you can buy here). This is a spray that was produced by Boeing to keep rust from forming air crafts. I assume it should do just fine for a bike as well!
Don’t want to go out and buy something specific? WD-40 can also work as well. However, I have read that it can cause gunk to form over time, and is a bit of a pain to clean off.
- Is it safe to Ride a Bike with a Rusty Chain?
- Here’s how often you should be cleaning your Bicycle Chain
- Here’s how to store a bicycle long-term
5. Perform all maintenance
You should always be keeping your bike nice and clean! Do your roads have salt or live in a salty air area, make sure to wash your bike down regularly to keep rust from forming while it is in storage. Just make sure to dry it off afterwards!
6. Make sure it’s dry before storing
Finally, whenever you store your bike in the shed, just make sure it is dry before you put it there.
The worst thing you can do is put it in there wet, because it isn’t going to dry as it would outside, so any water that is on there, likely will sit there for an extended period, causing rust.
Can you remove rust from a bicycle?
Did you find rust on your bicycle? While rust may seem like a permanent fixture on an old bike, it is possible to remove it with the right tools and techniques.
The first step is to identify the type of rust you’re dealing with. If the rust is superficial, meaning it’s only on the surface of the metal, you can likely remove it with a wire brush like this one or sandpaper.
More severe rust will require chemical treatment like this to loosen the bonds between the metal and the rust.
After the rust has been removed, it’s important to protect the metal from further corrosion by applying a coat of paint or sealant. With a little elbow grease, you can make even the most rusted bike look new again.
Many, many people keep their bikes in the shed without an issue! I keep my bikes in the shed and haven’t had an issue.
One of my bikes even sat in there for years, but recently took it out without evident rust.
Make sure to take care of your bike by using the methods in this article, and you should be fine! Keeping your bike inside in a shed is going to be considerably better than leaving it outside.