Steve of DFW Point-to-Point has a point: Salt air really is rough on bicycle parts. I should have taken a photo of the bike I rode when I was in Florida. Every time I see it, the spokes and other parts are more corroded than they were the previous time I rode. It seems the spokes get the worst corrosion. At least, that seems to be the case for the non-plated, non-stainless spokes found on cheap bikes like the one I rode.
Whenever I'm in Florida, I see lots of bikes that have so much rust that it's a wonder they still run. Even the more inland areas are affected by salt air, and there are many bikes that spend years or even decades in garages or on porches after their owners stop riding them.
I must say that just about everyone who looked like he or she was riding long miles or doing any kind of training was astride an aluminum or carbon bike. Those riders are young and tend to be more swayed by trends, but I suspect their choice of ride might be influnced by the salt air and humid conditions. A mechanic with whom I worked spent a few years in Florida, where he worked in two bike shops. He told me that he often saw parts rusted clear through, and hubs that rotted on the inside because of the humidity and salt air.
Well, this year is old, too, although it's not rusty. So, as this will probably be my last post of 2011, I want to wish you a Happy New Year and lots of safe, enjoyable and fulfilling rides!