Cleaning your bike in the winter is a pain, but if you don’t keep on top of it then in the long term it will cost you!
Your chain and cassette will wear out much quicker due to the wet roads and dirt. Here are some handy tips on keeping your bicycle in tip top condition most of which without spending a fortune on cycle specific cleaning goods and accessories.
Save time and hassle with a Cycle Stand
OK so this first one will require investment but oh what an essential tool it is when you want (or need depending on your frame of mood) to work on your bicycle. A bike stand saves your pride and joy from getting damaged and also makes life much easier for cleaning and carrying out general maintenance. A popular American brand called Park Tool have a great range and I myself have one and find it to be one of the best available. Fold away stands are also available on the market which are extremely practical as they fold nicely into a bag, ideal if you're limited on space. I would definitely recommend checking stands out, most cycle shops stock them and although it will of course cost you a bit of money for a decent one, the time and stress they save soon becomes worth every penny and makes cleaning and maintaining your bicycle so much easier.
Homemade cycle tool to make life easier
Another very helpful tool and one that will soon make your life easier, is a cut out rear wheel hub. My own idea and it’s free, firstly get an old training or damaged wheel basically one that is deemed surplus to requirement and with the use of wire cutters remove the spokes so you have the hub remaining. You can now use this hub (simply replacing the rear wheel) to makes life so much easier when it comes to cleaning the chain, chain rings and rear mechanism etc. This cut out hub can also be great when transporting your bike, and remember you can also use one from a front wheel which can help prevent forks from being crushed
Save money on Cycle degreasers
Cleaning products can be costly, especially if your are having to clean your bike every week due to commuting and training in the winter months. How I save money is I use petrol or diesel as a degreaser to clean the chain, cassette and all the other greasy parts. Just pour either the petrol or diesel in to a bowl and apply with a brush, you can use bike cleaning brushes if you wish but to cut further costs, paint brushes or even a toothbrush can soon do the job. When finished simply wash off with a hose, I wouldn't advise a jet wash as these can be too powerful and can dry out bearings.
Looking after the paintwork
Car shampoo is great to clean the bike with and can bought in large volume, generally bicycle cleaning shampoos can be more expensive and in smaller volume so normally this doesn't work out as cost effective. Another handy thing about car shampoo is it can even be purchased in most supermarkets, so readily available. Obviously if you have a car and clean that yourself you will most likely have some already so saves you having to make a further purchase.
Want to get a good shine on the paint work and/or carbon? Then believe it or not furniture spray is a brilliant alternative and it also helps to protect your bike. A furniture spray like good ol' Mr Sheen will contain a wax film which will help protect your frame. We all tend to have furniture polish lurking under the sink with the other household cleaning items, so why not give it ago as it should again save some pennies and give a lovely finish to your bicycle frame.
Just want to quickly wipe down the bike without the hassle of filling up buckets and getting soaked? The answer is baby wipes, a quick once over with these can soon remove sweat off bars and the frame, so pretty convenient if you don't have enough time to do a full clean.
Something else I couldn't be without are deposable gloves, as simple as it seems they do their job; keeping your hands spotless while cleaning your bike. You can also keep a spare pair of them with your spare tube and tools on your bike as you never known when emergency maintenance might be required and getting dirt or grease all over your hands can be a pain especially if you in the midst of a long ride.
Well there you are ladies and gentlemen, some tips which hopefully will be of some benefit to you and might make life a bit easier when it comes to cleaning and maintaining your bike or could even save you some money when it comes to cleaning consumables.
Please note: The views shared are that of the author and are not neccesarily that of Lexham Insurance Consultants Ltd.
The views shared are that of the author and are not necessarily that of Lexham Insurance Consultants Ltd.