Spring Cleaning for Your Bicycle
It’s time for some spring-cleaning—even for your bike! Your bike may have spent the winter in the garage or it may have taken you on some winter rides, but now it needs a good cleaning. Think of it as some TLC, because a bike that is well taken care of will ride smoother and last longer for years to come. It really isn’t hard to do and most of your cleaning supplies can come from household products you already have: an old toothbrush, a potscrubber brush,a rag or two, dish soap and water. If you buy some chain cleaner, chain lube and a degreaser from the bike store, you are set. Lastly, I highly recommend a pair of gloves; it can be a dirty job for your hands.
To make your bike cleaning even easier, we’ve made a handy bike-cleaning check list that you can print off for easy referral when you need. It will help you through the basic steps of bike maintenance and cleaning. To keep your bike riding smoothly and looking great, clean as often as needed during prime riding season.
Make an Inspection
If it has been a few months since you last rode your bike, you’ll want to check it out thoroughly and make sure everything on the bike from the shifting, to the brakes to the chain is in good working order. If there is a problem, you’ll want to get it fixed before your next ride. (For additional information about inspecting your bike–see another article here.)
There are several little spots on a bike that need extra attention as you clean and they are usually in the hard-to-get-to parts of your bike. A small little brush like an old toothbrush will make it easier to get those spots clean. A bike stand is very helpful to keep the bike up higher so you can see the dirty spots you might not normally see. But if you don’t have one, turn your bike upside-down on a towel or on your lawn. The very bottom of the bike gets dirt from the road, and if you are an endurance cyclist, it may also get sticky drips from your water bottles filled with Gatorade-type beverages. Be sure the base of the bike where the cables run is clean to avoid shifting problems. If you are cleaning the bike with dish soap and water, rinse it afterwords and carefully towel it dry.
I think one of the easiest maintenance jobs to do on your bicycle is cleaning and lubing the chain. It’s so-ooo easy but yet it often gets neglected and chains get full of grit, shifting is affected and sometimes chains will rust. This is one little job that you can do monthly to keep your bike in good working order. You’ll notice the shifting will be smoother and quieter and your chain will last longer.