Tips and tricks for taking care of your bicycle
Now is the perfect time to do some bicycle maintenance. Here are a few tips for cleaning your bike, something you should do regularly to keep the parts in good working order.
The tools you need are pretty basic: water, some sponges, an old toothbrush, a clean cloth, cleaning/degreasing products and bike lube.
Step 1: stabilise your bike
Using a bike repair stand is the most practical, but if you don’t have one, just go with the old-school solution and turn your bike upside down. Remember to protect the saddle and handlebars with cardboard or an old blanket on the ground. To make it easier to do a deep-clean, you can also remove the wheels.
Step 2: wash
If your bike is really dirty, start by rinsing it to remove most of the dirt (but don’t use a pressure washer). Then, use bike cleanser with a sponge and water to clean the frame, forks, handlebars, pedals and transmission. The toothbrush will help you get dirt out of the smallest crevices.
Step 3: degrease
If your chain is dirty or makes noise, you’ll need to degrease the chain, derailleurs and cassette. You can degrease them by mixing hot water with washing up liquid and a few drops of white vinegar. If this doesn’t do the trick, you’ll need to get a specialised cleaning product.
Step 4: rinse and dry
Remember to dry your bike. This is an essential step to avoid damaging the parts. Be sure to use a clean, dry cloth.
Step 5: lubricate
Once your bike is properly clean, the last step is to lubricate the chain with the appropriate oil. Pour a few drops of bike lube on the chain and turn it in one direction and then the other so that the oil coats all of the links. If you want to do a bit more, you can also lubricate the cables, housings and shifters.
Here’s a quick video tutorial:
For more in-depth info, check out the website Global Cycling Network.