Cleaning Your Bicycle

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated September 3, 2012)

If you have a bicycle, then you know just how dirty that they can get. By taking the time to periodically clean your bike you will be able to ensure that it works to its fullest capabilities. Thing is that cleaning your bicycle will take a bit of effort, even though it isn't all that difficult. Just make sure that you follow these directions.

Items needed:

  • Rags
  • Large bucket
  • Degreasing dish soap
  • Nylon bristled scrub brush
  • Sponge
  • Biodegradable degreaser
  • Polish
  • Grease
  • Bicycle chain lube
  • Old toothbrush
  • Narrow flat tip screwdriver

Procedure:

  1. Focus on the chain. When cleaning your bicycle, the first thing that you need to do is focus on the chain. What this basically means is that you should simply scrub down the bicycle chain using a scrub brush, some degreasing dish soap, and hot water. Be sure that you get the entire chain, and that you also rinse the chain off when you are finished scrubbing it.
  2. Get rid of the grease. Once you have finished scrubbing the chain, you will need to get rid of any remaining grease that may be on it. The easiest way to do this is by using a spray biodegradable degreasing agent (which can be purchased at most automotive and bicycle shops). Spray the degreaser onto the chain, and then spin the pedal a few times to work the degreaser into the nooks and crannies of the chain. You may also want to use an old toothbrush to help work the degreasing agent into the chain. Allow the chain to drip dry, or spray some water onto it to wash it off.
  3. Wipe and lube the chain. Wipe off the chain by loosely wrapping a soft clean rag around the chain, and then rapidly turning the pedal. This will help remove any remaining gunk that is on the otherwise clean chain. When that is done begin applying a bit of lubrication to the chain. You can do this in one of two ways. The first is to directly apply the lubrication to the chain using a drip tube, or by pouring some of the lubrication onto a clean rag, and then using the same wiping method as described earlier.
  4. Wipe and lube the cables. If the brake cables, gear shift cables, and other cables on your bike are covered, pull back the covering a bit. Wipe down the now exposed cable with a rag that has some degreaser sprayed onto it. Wipe the cable clean, and then lube it up with a little bit of lubricant or grease. If you notice any sections of cable that have rusted, have the cable replaced at your earliest opportunity.
  5. Scrape, scrub, wipe, and lube the front mech. Use a nylon bristled scrub brush, some degreasing soap, and warm water and scrub the front gear assembly clean. These areas typically get a lot of dirt, grim, mud, and some other junk worked in, so you will need to pay extra careful attention. You may need to also use a narrow, flat tipped screwdriver to get rid of any really stubborn clumps of grease or dirt. Once you have done that wipe the entire assembly with a clean soft rag. You may also need to tear thin strips off of the rag so that you get into the innards of the assembly. Just as with the chain, you can lube up the gear assembly by applying some lube directly to the assembly, and then turning the pedal a few times.
  6. Scrape, scrub, wipe, and lube rear mech. Repeat the same process listed in step five with the rear gear assembly. Don't rush, and be sure that you get every thing.
  7. Scrub, wipe, and lube the sprockets. Repeat the same scraping, scrubbing, wiping, and lubing process with the gears themselves. These sprockets are usually put through quite a bit of wear and tear, so then will need to be addressed separately from the gear assemblies.
  8. Do some general clean up. After you have finished doing the detailed cleaning, it is time to do some general cleaning. Simply wash off the dirt and grime that may be on the rest of your bicycle, and then go over the metal parts with some polish. At this time, you will also want to grease the chain a bit. Apply the grease to a clean soft rag, and then use the same application method listed in step two.
  9. Put everything away. With your bicycle now clean, you can put all the cleaning materials away. Be sure that you properly dispose of the rags, and the water that you used for cleaning.

One word of warning to those who plan on doing their own bicycle cleaning, you need to be careful. If you aren't careful you can end causing damage to your bike, and make it more difficult to use. So either, you need to be careful, or simply take your bicycle to a professional to have them do the work for you.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

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