Cycling on an open road or bike path on a sunny day is one of life’s great pleasures. A cooling breeze on your skin, a view unfolding before your eyes as you pedal, it’s a simple and endlessly rewarding pursuit. However, cyclists know that extended sessions in the sun can do them harm. If you spend too much time in the sun unprotected, your skin and eyes can become damaged by UV radiation. Sunburn and photokeratitis are two of the mildest effects of prolonged sun exposure, and alone they can both cause significant pain and discomfort for your body. Your body, at least, has the ability to repair from this damage. Non-living matter is not as lucky. Bicycles left out in direct sunlight can sustain significant damage from UV radiation. UV radiation can degrade plastics, rubber, and other substances, undermining their flexibility and washing out colors. When you spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a high-performance bicycle, you need to protect your investment by shielding it from the elements.
Effects of UV Radiation on Bicycles
There are many elements of a bicycle that are negatively affected by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
Paint: UV light can harm exposed paint surfaces in ways such as color change, loss of gloss, chalking, flaking, and oxidation of the glossy film paint relies on to protect it from other factors such as rust.
Tires: Rubber does not play nicely with UV. The additional exposure sunny climes get to ultraviolet light is a contributing factor to why it’s recommend that people in hot climates replace their tires more frequently.
Plastics: When exposed to UV light over time, plastics will fade and become brittle. This can be problematic when considering your cable housing, as your cables can become exposed.
Leather: If you have leather accoutrements on your bike, such as saddlebags or saddle, UV light will discolor and dessicate your leather, weakening it.
Not all substances are vulnerable to UV radiation. There are a considerable number of UV-stable plastic materials that can protect your bike. In general, UV-resistant plastics are created by adding black coloration, or protective surface coatings such as paint or metallization. Certain fluorinated polymers, such as PTFE or PVDF possess high levels of UV stability. It’s also possible to make a plastic more resistant by adding UV stabilizers. With these precautions taken, substances previously not considered for outdoor applications become viable.
Best Bicycle Covers
One of the more straightforward solutions for protecting the integrity and paint job of your bicycle from UV radiation and other weather is a bike cover. Waterproof bike covers can do much to shield a bike from sun, wind and rain. Be careful when choosing a waterproof cover, though. Many waterproof products feature polyurethane (PU) coatings. They are popular because they typically have high abrasion resistance, but many of them are also susceptible to degradation via ultraviolet light. Assuming you can find a cover that is resistant to all the varieties of weather you need it to resist, and so long as you can find a cover to fit your bicycle, they’re relatively easy to put on or take off. However, even a double-stitched, weather-resistant, pro bike cover will do very little to deter a bicycle thief.
Best Outdoor Bicycle Storage
For outdoor bike storage solutions that not only protect from weather (including UV radiation) bike storage sheds and lockers are popular. The benefit of a bike storage shed is that you can potentially store things other than a bike in there. Your repair kit, cleaning supplies, helmet and other safety gear can all be stored safely and separately. You need to ensure that it is secure, however, as sheds often come with somewhat flimsy locks. Most sheds also require assembly. If you have a yard with 30-50 square feet to spare, a bicycle shed can be very useful. However, if you don’t, a bike locker might be more suitable. Bike lockers can slot into smaller spaces, such as the end of an assigned parking spot. The ALPEN Bike Capsule is a masterpiece of bike storage design, a roto-molded polyethylene lockable design that is not only waterproof and UV-resistant, but offers protection from humidity and salty air comparable to a bike storage shed or garage. The Capsule locks when closed and is opened with a key, and can be bolted to a floor or truck for added security. The bolts are only accessible from inside the capsule, making it virtually impossible to abscond with the Capsule and bike under these circumstances. Taking up under 18 sq ft, it is a great solution for those living in small apartments or those without access to yard space. Inside the capsule there is plenty of space for nearly every standard sized bicycle, so your bike gear can be stored in the same space for convenience. You could even fit in an additional bike, if you removed a front tire or two.
ALPEN Storage for Bicycle Security
With its durable rounded design, water- and rustproof materials, and UV resistance, the ALPEN Bike Capsule is an investment that can drastically improve the lifespan of your bicycle. It’s also more aesthetically pleasing than the average bike locker. Our goal during the design process was to invent a bike storage unit attractive enough to sit on a luxury home’s front porch, while offering a user-friendly, weather-proof, secure option for bike lovers. ALPEN Bike Capsules are produced in the USA and can be shipped worldwide. If you have further questions about our Bike Capsules, you can contact us via our website. Alternatively, if we have convinced you of the ALPEN Bike Capsule’s many virtues, you can buy a secure bicycle storage solution on our website, too.