If there’s anything that the Covid-19 situation has reminded us of, it’s the importance of getting outside and doing some exercise every day. Cycling is a great way to do this whilst also maintaining social distancing.
If you haven’t used your bike in a while, though, it’s probably been sitting in your shed gathering dust! Now is the best time to dig it out, clean it up, and get riding. With that in mind, we thought we’d put together a handy guide on how to get your bike shining before you get peddling.
We’ll also include some handy tips on bike maintenance. When you haven’t ridden your bike for a while, it’s possible that a few things may have come loose, so you need to do a thorough safety check before you ride it. Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through that too!
What you’ll need to get started
Before you start cleaning, here’s what you’ll need to get your bike squeaky clean:
Getting ready to clean
You might be wondering why we said you’ll need a rag, a brush, and a sponge. When you’re cleaning your bike, you want to make sure that you don’t use the same tool for the same area. A great example of this is your chain, which needs to be well-lubricated. You don’t want to wash your chain with your rag and then cover your frame in grease!
It’s also good to have different tools for different areas. A brush can be great for hard-to-reach places and a sponge is perfect for getting moisture onto your bike. The rag is perfect for clearing that moisture away or blotting grease.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get started. Firstly, squirt a good amount of dish soap into your bucket and fill it with clean, warm water. Next, you need to get your bike into a good position to clean everywhere. If you have a bike stand, this is perfect as it raises it off the ground. We understand that most people probably won’t have one of these, though, so we’ve got a good solution that loads of people have suggested to us. A taut clothesline in your back garden can do the trick. Simply hook the nose of your saddle over it, it should have a similar effect!
Finally, the last thing you might want to do is remove your wheels. This can be tough if you’re not that experienced with your bike, though, so feel free to skip this step if you’re not confident.
Let’s get washing
Start by washing the chain. If you have degreaser, now is the time to use it. Turn the cranks backwards, ensuring the degreaser is applied evenly to every link. Leave it for 5-10mins and then rinse with your sponge and soapy water.
If you don’t have degreaser, use dish soap by applying small drops to each link. Once you’ve applied dish soap to every link, get your sponge and grip the chain lightly, then turn the cranks several times. Finish up by rinsing it again.
Next, we’ll move onto the frame, which is probably going to be quite grimy if you haven’t had your bike out for a while! Replace the water in your bucket after cleaning the chain and saturate your sponge. Make sure the sponge you use for this one is soft, without any rough sides. Thoroughly soap up the frame from back to front and then rinse. You may need to do this a couple of times, depending on how dirty your bike is!
Finally, let’s tackle the wheels. This is where your brushes come in. Bigger brushes are definitely better for this and try not to use anything with bristles that are too stiff. Using the same water as for your frame, dunk the brush and start scrubbing. We’d recommend starting at the centre of the wheel and working your way outwards. Don’t just wash one side, even though you might think you’ve gotten everything. Go round to the other side and wash it thoroughly there too. Repeat this process on the other wheel and then rinse everything off.
To finish off, get a clean, dry rag and wipe everything down. You can then just let it dry in the sun, or a warm room. If you have any lubricant, apply it to your chain once the bike is dry.