Saturday, July 14, 2012

Dirty Girls Guide...to cleaning your bike


For a long, long time I was the cyclist who would trade free babysitting for someone to clean my bike.  Seriously.   One time my coach said "Chloe, that is the dirtiest bike I've ever seen" or my bike mechanic stated (more then once) "My, the princess has been rode hard and put up wet".  Yes.  I do love my bike - but I did not know how to keep her clean.  Or, just didn't want to spend the time.   Until I realized how SIMPLE and QUICK it is to do yourself.  All you need is the proper tools.

*remember, I am NOT a bike mechanic.  If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment*

These are my tools.  

And this is my cleaning bucket.  It's simple for me to keep everything together - I mean, where else am I going to use epic ride or grease lightening?  

First thing I do is hose down my bike.

Then I spray some grease lightening onto my cassette and crank set.  Then I use a brush purchased  from my local bike store to clean all of the hard to reach dirty parts:


Once I feel most of the sand and muck have been cleaned out - I hose her down again.

Next I grab the best bike chain cleaning tool ever and my CB-2 Citrus Chain Brite:

You don't realize how dirty your chain is until you use this bad boy. All you do is fill up the chain cleaning machine (well, that is what I call it) to the fill line and attached to the bottom part of your chain.  This contraption is full of brushes that spin and clean out all of the crap caught in your chain:


I know, not the best photo.  But you get the drift.  But I back peddle my bike until I feel the chain is clean. Usually about 2-3 minutes (I'm just a bit OCD).  Depending on how full of grime my chain is, I might dump out the liquid and re-fill.  Because it can get pretty gross:


Sick.  Now you see how important this tool is.  
You can purchase this entire contraption here - or you can also purchase this at your local bike store.
Just to let you know - my bike chain is gold.  I totally forget this until after I clean it.  Then I remember the princess has some pretty awesome bling.

I hose the bike down again and fill up a small bucket with car wash solution and water.  Grab some type of soft cloth and throughly wipe down the frame and wheels.  I typically do this a few times since I seem to miss places.  

Finally I end the bike spa with this:

to lube up my chain.  

I look for the quick release on my chain - and just drip a small amount of Epic Ride on each link.  Once I see the quick release again, I know I've done one round (sometimes I do this twice...damn OCD)

And there you go!  Quick and simple.  This usually takes me about 10 minutes or so.  I don't have fancy bike holder - but the boat trailer works just fine to hold her up.



Now - how pretty does the princess look?  

If I can do it - you can totally do it.  A clean bike is a happy bike....and a fast bike!  I try to do this at least once every two weeks.  We have a TON of sand and crap on our roads - so the gunk can really build up.  

In other news - here is an awesome photos of Stella.  The wonder dog:

Guarding her ball. 



  





17 comments:

Kurt @ Becoming An Ironman said...

I doubt half of the racers out there have any idea how to clean their bike. Myself included. haha So awesome post!!

The brush and chain... contraption I had no idea existed, so I learned something new today! Thanks!

Chloe said...

OMG. That totally made my day! Glad I was able to help you out!

Mary Lynne said...

Awesome, thanks for posting. I have only had my bike for less than 2 months and was thinking about what supplies I needed to keep it in top shape. These will definitely help!

Keith said...

I found it was easier to take the chain off and soak in the degreaser while cleaning everything else the chain touches, and everything else it doesn't touch too, while I'm at it.

If anyone can figure out how to get that used chain guck into a bottle, and then into a marker, they will drive sharpie out of business. Gives permanent marking a whole new meaning.

Katie said...

Thanks for posting this! I NEVER clean my bike and this was so helpful. Not nearly as intimidating now.

Trisaratops said...

This is awesome! I *might* be guilty of never...errr...rarely cleaning my bike, and that contraption looks fabulous. I need to get me one of those!

Jen Small said...

great post.
if you have a bike, you should know basic care for sure!

I'll have to try this chain cleaning, I use simple green and it's just OK. I want BOOM FANTASTIC so...

I love White Lightening for my chain-keeps it so much cleaner than the other stuff.

Holly Fraccaro said...

Good post! I am ashamed to admit, I've never cleaned my bike. Tonight's the night!

Jason said...

There must be something in the air. I cleaned my bike for the first time EVER last weekend.....amazing that my bike has colors.....and it isn't all black like Crowie's....haha!

I will be printing this out and just doing that you do for 10 minutes every weekend. That's good right? Once a week and not everyday right?

Heidi Austin, PT, DPT said...

i try to clean the hotness 1x a week.... scott still says my bike is never clean.... i guess that's what you get for having a white bike!

MissFancyPants said...

I need to get my bike clean, I suck and I get in trouble all the time for it. I got to get you litle cleaner thing :)

Alisa said...

This is awesome!

When Zody was here she helped me clean my bike too. I hadn't ever greased my chain so I learned how to do that too!

This post was great...my only question is...do you risk rust if you hose it down? I ride in the rain (I try not to but it's oregon, whatcha gonna do) so I think the answer is no but I was just curious.

Mark said...

Yeah, I did a massive cleaning job on the bike before my HIM last weekend. I discovered things hidden in the chain that belong in first shooter video games.

Heather-O said...

Thanks for posting this! I too, neglect cleaning my bike, because I really don't know how to do it properly. This helps a ton!

Joel said...

Great post!

I don't have a bike holder thingie either, nor do I have a boat trailer. I take a belt and toss it over the garage door track and then hang my bike saddle on the looped belt. Works pretty well, and the bike is at eye level that way.

One other thing I do is take my cassette off my wheel completely and clean the cogs separately. Those brushes don't get all the crap out even if you're OCD about it.

Matthew Eldridge said...

Well, that’s great! At least you’ve learned it for your sake and your bike’s as well… Cleaning bikes has been my hobby since I was a teen. It is actually fun doing it, ‘coz you’ll know that whenever you ride that bike along the street, people can see how careful you are of your bike. I cherish my bike like how you do it, girl. Keep it up!

pay per head service said...

The only thing that I learned in college about mechanics. it is the every machine has to be nice and lubricated to work fine and make it last longer.