Back from a wet, muddy ride but in a hurry to get clean, dry and fed? Well, you might be tempted to dump you bike in the shed and clean it later. Chances are that you'll forget, or just stay on the sofa in a blanket. Here's how to clean your faithful bike quickly, but effectively.
In the wet, the roads and eventually your dive train, will get covered in road salt and who knows what else. It's not a good combination for long chain life or optimal performance. So concentrate on degreasing the chain, cassette and chainrings with a spray before going inside to get a bucket of warm soapy water. Next, take a sponge and, starting at the top, wash the frame and wheels before cleaning the drivetrain.
Take a hose, or the rest of your bucket and rinse off the bike, making sure you get every thing off the chain and cassette.
Bounce the bike lightly to shake off the worst of the water, then grab an old towel and wipe down the frame, again starting from the top. The drivetrain is again where you need to focus your time making it as dry as possible.
Finally, at least spray the drivetrain with a water displacer like WD40. Ideally, you should re-grease the chain with a heavier lube. Wet lube is best for winter, or commuting, unless you are prepared to clean the bike after every ride. In the summer, use a dry or ceramic lube to keep the chain cleaner.
Remember, the whole process should only take 5 minutes, by which time, your better half will hopefully have made you a cup of tea!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.