Start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icebiking and also here: http://www.icebike.com
Force neat anti-freeze down the cable-sleeves with a suitable piece of tubing and a bicycle pump. It does need much - just trap a bit in a U-tube, force it down the outer with the pump, then thread the inner back in. Stops water from getting in the cable and rendering brakes, gears etc inoperable if you go thru freeze/thaw cycles. (I live in Norway and commute by bike)
never use WD-40!! that is actually a degreaser, I use Lucas brand lubricant on my 21 speed .it allows everything to work wet,cold,hot,dry,ice, it won't matter and Lucas coats and protects it well enough that road salt and muck can't cake up your de-railer or gears. and take a needle or push pin and apply it to the small thin cables that operate the shifter and brakes
The biggest problem is not the cold, but the salt they put on the roads. That salty brine water will eat your bike alive. The most important things you can do are:
- wash off your bike with clean water and dry with a towel when you return home
- keep everything that moves, or can be removed, covered in grease or lubricant. Reapply as soon as it wears off. Pay special attention to the chain.
- use as many stainless steel parts and hardware as you can.
- if you park your bike outside during the day, cover it with a tarp to keep snow and ice off.
A tip i heard is to apply to a thin layer of WD-40 grease (synthetic grease) on your bike (yes everything) and wipe it off gently (just so everything is covered very thin with oil). Basicly do nothing through winter (maby reapply a bit), let the dirt sit there, and in the spring wash it off with water with a little soap!
It's fine! Take a look at the MSDS for WD-40. It contains a lubricant, a solvent and propellant. Many bike lubes are similar - a lubricant suspended in a solvent.
During the winter I use WD-40 on my chain. It works better at preventing the chain from rusting than any "proper" chain lube I've tried. It's also much, much cheaper. The only downside is that come spring I have to scrub the chain clean. That's better than having to buy a new one though!
When I lived in Boston and biked to work no matter what, the two things I found indispensable were good quality fenders and my paintball mask to keep the wind off of my face, and especially lips. The paintball mask alone cut in half amount of time my lips were chapped. The fenders will keep much of the water, salt, and grime off of your bike.More images here.
My rear fender doesn't stay down, it kinda goes at this weird angle.
I definitely second the icebike link. That guy is hardcore!
A big ol blanket