After arriving home from a long bike ride (especially a wet or muddy one), the first thing we'd want to do is chuck the bike into a corner, shower and then get something to eat. The bike will then lay sadly in the corner till our next ride. As lazy or troublesome we feel it is to clean the bicycle, our bicycles too need some tlc (tender loving care).
With proper care, our bikes will not only look better for us, it will last longer and work better for us too. This way we can save money on the bike's maintenance and we also can enjoy our ride better too.
Bike Cleaning Essentials
- A space where you can splash water around
- Clean rags: You can just grab a couple of old t-shirts that are laying around. Cut it up and it'll be used for grease, oil or wax.
- Brushes: Toothbrushes are great for this purpose. It is small so it is easy for it to scrub hard to reach places.
- Chain cleaning device (or you can just stick with your brush)
- Degreaser: This is for gummed up parts of your bike. Try to use environmentally friendly degreasers.
- Soap: For this you can use diluted dishwashing soap or bike specific cleansing soap.
- Chain lubricant: Do not over apply the lube as it can attract dirt and grime to stick to your drivetrain.
Steps To Clean Your Bike
1. Use a bucket of soapy water and brush the dirt and grime of the frame of your bike. Make sure you clean every nook and cranny on your bike unless your bike have disc brakes. If so, try to keep the soap away from the brake pads and rotors. You can use rubbing alcohol to clean the rotors. When you're done, rinse the soap of with water and then dry your bike with the rags at hand.
2. To clean the chain, use a degreaser and a rag. If it is really dirty, use a chain cleaning device. Once the degreaser has dried, drip drops of lube onto each chain of the link and wipe off excess lube.
3. For the brake and derailleurs, lube the pivots of the levers and barrel adjusters. This does not need to be done too frequently and just a drop or two of lube is sufficient.
4. Whenever you cleaning or servicing your bike, keep soap and lube away from the brake pads as it can cause damage to it which will then result in you having to replace them.
So, never be lazy when it comes to cleaning your bicycle and it will thank you by being around longer!