With nutrition, stretching, rest and a shower to prioritize, it can be easy to forget about taking care of your bike after a ride. But to keep your bike running smoothly and save you from a few headaches once you’re ready to get back out for your next ride, cleaning your bike after every ride should be an essential part of your post-workout routine.
The good news is not every bike cleaning needs to be an hour-long task. To cover the basics and keep dirt and grime from ruining your expensive parts, use this quick and easy bike cleaning routine that only takes about 10 minutes to complete.
GATHER YOUR TOOLS
Instead of digging through your garage trying to remember where you put your tools, save yourself time by keeping all of your bike-washing essentials in a bucket. Below is a basic list of what you need to get the job done:
- Sponge or bike brush
- Bike wash soap
- Rag or paper towels
- Chain lube
- Toothbrush or chain cleaning device
STEP 1: CLEAN THE CHAIN
Tackle the messiest part of the job first. If you have a chain cleaning tool in your arsenal, this can be taken care of quickly. If not, spray some degreaser over the chain and give it a quick scrub with an old toothbrush as you cycle the chain backward, cleaning each link. If you’ve got the time, give the cassette and jockey wheels of your rear derailleur a once over, too.
STEP 2: WIPE DOWN THE BRAKES
Wipe off the brake pads or disc brake surface with a rag or paper towel with more of the degreaser. This keeps your brakes performing well and avoiding the buildup of grime on the surface of the rim.
STEP 3: GIVE IT A QUICK SCRUB
Use a hose to give the bike a quick rinse. If you’re using a high-pressure hose, be careful to avoid the crank, headset and wheel hubs where the bearings can easily be ruined. Once it’s wet, spray the frame and parts with a bike wash. If you don’t have a bike wash, fill your bucket with soapy water. Scrub it down with a bike brush or sponge, making sure to hit areas that commonly get mucked up like brake calipers and chainrings.
STEP 4: RINSE & DRY
Rinse all the bike wash or soap off the bike, checking for any spots where all the dirt and grime may have stuck around. Use the sponge if needed and rinse once you’ve got the job done. Give the bike a quick buff with a clean rag, a leather chamois or more paper towels. When you’ve got the time, spray on some silicone bike polish or frame protectant, which will make cleaning your bike the next go-round much easier.
STEP 5: LUBE THE CHAIN
With a rag beneath the chain, apply one drop of chain lube to each link. Wipe off any excess by holding the chain loosely with the rag and cycling the chain backward. If any lube got on your other parts (such as the wheels or frame), wipe it off before you finish.