Riding your bike, road, mountain, or townie, in winter always brings with it some road crud that starts to coat your ride. Wet weather in the valley, snow and ice in the high country, are part of the winter scene around our area.
The best of intentions to keep all that stuff off your bike can take a back seat to many things. It's too cold, it's too wet, the coffee and bagels really beckon to you.
Keeping the road and trail slop off your bike is important though. All of that grit acts like sandpaper, grinding down every surface it rubs against. Ignore it, and your wallet will take a hit sooner or later.
Keeping your bike in good riding condition after a sloppy winter ride doesn't mean do a full clean it, lube it, and shine it day though.
You don't really have to spend hours polishing your trusty steed after every ride. Here are some simple tips that won't take long, but will keep your bike in good condition until you can put more time into it.
- After your wet, winter ride, gently brush everything with a soft brush.
- When that is done, hose down your bike with a garden hose. Keep the pressure low. If you live in snow country, you may have to use a squirt bottle, which will improve your grip, an added bonus.
- Take a dry rag, or a few of them, and dry everything.
- Make certain that the chain, gears, and derailleur are dry.
- Get out your chain lube and lube the chain, chain ring, gears, and roller wheels on the derailleur.
- Hold a dry rag loosely around your chain while running it backwards to remove the excess oil. Too much oil left on these components will attract the stuff you just washed off.
- Take a last good look at everything, clean what you missed, dry what may still be wet.
This should take something short of a half hour. It's time well spent, as your bike, especially your chain and gears, will last longer. You'll also be able to pedal more easily, and braking will stop you without having to listen to the screech of road grit grinding on your wheel or disc.
Not only that, but you'll look good while riding, an added bonus to be sure.