There are some things in life that are just inevitable and when you own a bike, cleaning is one of them. Bike cleaning is important. Bike cleaning is important, yes I just repeated that and I’ll continue to do it until YOU clean. Because the thing is, in the end, cleaning your bike will save you time and money, and just make life with a bike easier. Who doesn’t want for that?
At goRide we believe strongly in the power of getting better. The easiest way to be better at understanding how your bike works is to clean. If you don’t believe me then you need to read our Cleaning for the Kids & You story.
I do want to inspire you to clean regularly but I understand that sometimes things get in the way. The following list is the MUST of cleaning situations. The times when leaving your bike as it is, is just not an option and the reasons why…
Get the family cleaning
What will it do? Clog stuff up and generally stick to things it shouldn’t. So while it’s great to get out riding in all types of weather you need to be aware of where this stuff can go when it’s spraying up under your bike. Mud & grit will get forced into places that move or pivot on your bike, and when it dries, will act like sandpaper.
Ways to minimise the impact. Wait until the tracks have dried a little. Riding muddy tracks damages your bike and the tracks. If you have mud then grab a hose, your bike brush and a bike cleaner as soon as you get home. Always clean wet mud off your bike – if it has dried before you clean, you must wet it again to remove it properly. Use a bucket of water and a brush or cloth, or a gentle spray from the hose. If you do ride regularly in muddy or wet conditions on a bike with lots of moving parts e.g. a full suspension mountain bike, you need to clean out these moving parts – headset, bottom bracket, suspension pivots. Have a look through our post on using a Bicycle Brush for basic cleaning in these areas. Note: these parts will need pulling apart and cleaning every 3 to 6 months if ridden often in muddy conditions. If this sounds scary get the bike shop to do it.
What will it do? Sticks to grease/oil. Generally you can’t ride fast through sand so your wheels won’t be spinning the stuff up with too much force. Having said that – it’s your chain that’s most at risk in sandy conditions and sand stuck to a chain can do a lot of damage.
Ways to minimise the impact. Clean as you go. If you have ridden through a sandy track give your chain a good squirt with your water bottle to remove what you can see. If you ride on or near the beach and want your bike parts to last you MUST clean it straight after your ride. If you are pressed for time a simple spray from the hose on a gentle setting will initially do the job. BUT we strongly recommend that you go back and have a good look at your chain and give it some special attention. Time spent at this point will save you down the line.
What will it do? Cause rust and corrosion on parts of your bike that aren’t aluminium or carbon (your frame could be made out of this). This effects your chain, cogs, screws and bearings the most and can work fairly quickly if not cleaned. This rust causes your moving parts to stop moving – think about how many moving parts you have in the length of a chain. Learn more about your bike chain here.
Ways to minimise the impact. If riding through or near salt water is something you do a lot keep your metal parts well lubed or consider using a wax lubricant as this repels the salt water. Always spray your bike down with fresh water after it has been near salt water – a gentle light setting – never high pressure or a bucket of water and a brush. A bike brush works really well because the bristles can get into all the little holes created by your chain links. If you do have rust use a chain specific cleaner with a bike brush or a chain cleaning kit (plastic tool that clamps onto your chain). Soak the chain in the cleaner, then use your cleaning tool vigoursly, rinse with water, now rub with a dry cloth and apply your lube generously…have a read through the links below.
BUILT UP GREASE
What will it do? Interferes with good performance making your riding harder than it needs to be and adds time to any maintenance jobs. Grease attracts and traps dirt/sand/grit causing a build up of grime that misaligns components and leads to wearing on parts that could last you a lot longer.
Ways to minimise the impact. Regular cleaning of greasy components e.g. the parts of your bike that move or join together. Pay particular attention to your chain and the parts of your bike that make contact with it. When you do add a wet lubricant to your bike make sure you wipe off any excess with a cloth. Consider using a wax based chain lube as these ‘dry’ lubricants don’t attract as much dirt and grit.
A clean bike looks good, performs better, lasts longer and is easier to maintain.
So one last time…BIKE CLEANING IS IMPORTANT…now you know why.
get Ready and goRide – You must clean your bike when…
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