Advice for winter. You WILL clean your bike!

Sometimes I'm accused of being a bit of a Nazi when customers bring  their bikes in a poor state. This is untrue, as anyone who has had a visit from the Etape22 Gestapo will confirm, because they know what is good for them...

Seriously though, a clean bike is a happy bike. A clean bike is a faster bike. A clean bike is a cheaper bike. What's not to like?

Recently, I've had quite a few bikes in with worn chains, brake blocks, wheel rims, tyres with chunks of glass & metal in them. If I had a fiver for every time I've heard the phrase "but that chain has only been on for X miles" I could probably afford a new Ultegra groupset!

So, with the weather being unremittingly wet & abrasive & many of you baulking at the thought of mudguards, here's a few tips to help your components stay working, last longer & save you money. This is just the minimum. Feel free to go the whole hog if you want! Sound ok?

Wet ride (aren't they all)? Wash down your bike as soon as you get in! Gentle hosing, not jetwasher. If you do it immediately, most of the crap will hose right off. Hold the hose over the chain & run it through the flow of water. This will remove most of the silt & grit which will eat your chain in no time!. If you want to give it a proper wash, all the better. A little squirt of WD-40/GT85 on the chain, jockey wheels & derailleur pivots will keep rust at bay. Then you can have your coffee & cake & biscuits & protein shake & creatine & whatever takes your fancy!

Phew! Now that you are fed & showered, go back to the bike. If it's not dried off, give it a wipe to remove most of the water.

Wipe the chain with an old rag & apply proper chain lube. Not too much. Little & often is best.

Drop out the wheels. Wipe the rims with a cloth or some sturdy kitchen towel. Eeesh! Yes, you didn't realise they were that dirty, did you?

The brake blocks. Take an old toothbrush & some detergent (washing up liquid will do, but rinse off thoroughly as it's got salt in it). Give the brake blocks a scrub. More filth. Rinse the detergent, dry off & grab your smartphone. Engage the torch app & examine those pads. Ooh, pretty, sparkly bits of aluminium & grit in there. Take a small sharp tool (I use a small flathead screwdriver) & dig that shit out of there. That stuff is eating your wheel rims everytime you brake. Not cool. Very expensive.

Tyres. Have a close look to see what bits of glass & metal you have in there. Deflate the tyres so you can pinch them. This makes it easy to remove the objects which are slowly working their way into your inner tube. I use the small flathead screwdriver again for this. If you have any medium sized cuts, you can try superglue, when it's dry. This can work, but no promises. If the sidewalls are damaged, then don't risk it!

There you are, good to go. All in the time it would take you to fix a puncture on the road. Rather less unpleasant though! Your riding buddies will be grateful & so will your bike.

Make it so....

P.S. Be sure to give your bike a proper scrub once every 3 or 4 rides