A clean bike is a fast bike. The first time I heard this I was working in the bike industry and one of my colleagues said it out loud when looking at his beautiful cross country hardtail he’d just cleaned up and serviced.
I had never really considered this before but it has stuck with me ever since. There are many reasons why the above statement is true. Firstly, who doesn’t love to ride a clean bike, after all, looks matter (especially on a road bike). Secondly, no one likes to ride a bike where nothing works, especially the gears, it tends to ruin a ride.
Granted, looking after the mechanics of a bike can be a little bit more tricky, especially when you’re not entirely sure what to do. But keeping the bike clean doesn’t take much effort at all. Plus, it’s always nicer when you go to grab your bike and it’s not caked in mud from the previous ride which then reduces the motivation to almost zero. I’ll admit, I am guilty of doing this a few times and I always kick myself when it happens. Let’s face it, it only really takes 5 minutes to quickly wash your bike down after a ride.
Keeping the chain and gears clean should also be done on a regular basis. I know that this one is a bit of a pain, but it gets a bit easier if you invest in the right tools and cleaners. I use the Park Tools chain cleaner tool with Muc Off’s degreaser. Works a treat. The other thing I like to use which I do when it needs to be a quick clean is a foam spray chain cleaner and a soft brush. Easy and quick, plus it looks really cool.
You don’t have to have a fully functioning workshop to do this either. I mostly use a hose, or a bucket of water, lean my bike up against the wall or if you have a stand that’s even better. Grab some cleaning product (I’ve even used car washing shampoo) and go around the bike. Easy.
Don’t forget to at least give the chain a wipe with a rag or paper towel to dry it off, even if you haven’t cleaned it. Otherwise, you’ll come back to your bike a couple of days later to find a rusty chain. I’ve been there too, not a pretty sight.
Until next time.