The days are getting shorter, the cold is slowly creeping in, the streets are starting to be wet and full with all sorts of things you do not want to have sticking onto your bike. No doubt, winter is coming! With winter comes the time when bike cleaning moves from “I could” to “I should” even for the biggest bike cleaning grouch. Veloine rider Alice shares her four must-have bike cleaning steps.
We all know it is needed and it is good for our (vastly expensive) bikes - but most likely the majority of us hates it, has a better half to take care of bike maintenance or just ignores the necessity. Unfortunately during the winter months, the negligence of bike care gets very visible and even the laziest of us realize it is time to take out all those bottles, sprays, cloths, sponges and brushes we somehow did buy somewhere at some point with the clear intention of keeping our beloved bike shiny and happy.
So here comes my ultimate guide to cleaning your bike.
Step 0: The "Where the f... shall I clean my bike?"
If you live in an apartment and have to carry your bike up and down some stairs all the time, you most probably won't have access to a beautiful garden or terrace, let alone access to a hose. So you will have to use your shower or bath tub. Make sure your room mate or partner is either not in the house to see the mess or shares your love for bikes. It will get messy.
Step 1: The frame.
Start by rinsing your bike with cold water and use a soft brush to gently remove excess dirt. Apply the bike cleaning product of your choice. At Veloine, we use products from Dynamic Bike Care. Do not be too shy on the product. In my personal bike cleaning terms - the more, the better. Let the product sit for 2-3 minutes before washing off with cold water. Use a soft brush to help get rid of the more sticky filth.
Some cleaning foam products can even be used without water. In that case you would only have to wipe off the excess foam.
Step 2: The chain.
Did you know that your chain can actually stay silver and shiny through all its usage? And it's actually easy to do so? All you need is some liquid chain cleaner and a cloth or chain cleaning wipes.
Ok, that is not all. To really make sure your chain is always perfect you will also need some brushes to clean between and inside each link. Making sure that every little sand/dust particle is gone.
Just spray the product on your chain and let it sit for a bit before you start brushing through the chain. Make sure to also clean between the upper and lower pulley wheel in the back. Once you are done with that you can apply some lube or wax.
You could also opt for using one of these chain cleaning things that look like a water pistol (do they have a real name?) - but I feel like they only remove the dirt that is stuck on the side of the links and not the real deal in between the links.
Step 3: The finishing.
Look at your beautiful bike. Almost done.
I use protective wax as a finishing step. Especially since the one I use has this incredible smell that reminds me of good times. Just spray it onto the frame -watch out to not spray it onto the disc brakes - and polish the frame with a dry cloth. The long lasting protective wax offers great protection against corrosion and scratches from sand or salt. It is suitable to use on all metallic and painted surfaces.
Step 4: The "Yes, I'm done!"
You are done. Congratulations your bike is clean and beautiful so better hop onto that trainer until summer is back.