Bike Bath

I have a confession: it's been a while since I've washed my bike.  Even worse, it rained during the race I did last month (Lake Stevens), and I still haven't cleaned it.  I love me a clean bike, so my task for the afternoon was to get mine all spic and span.

I like to put my bike on a workstand to make it easier to give it a bath.  Because my frame is carbon, it's not a good idea to clamp right on the top tube, so we use a special bar that clips to the bike under the saddle and bars, and clamp the workstand to that.

Tools of the trade
First step is to clean the chain and drivetrain.  I do that first because it makes a mess.  I use a solution called Bio Cycle, and pour some into a chain cleaner which clamps onto the chain.  Then I turn the pedals to allow the chain to move through the solution.  Unclamp the cleaner, wipe the chain off, repeat.  I actually repeated this step three times because the chain was pretty grody.

Chain cleaning tool

Then I go to work on the drivetrain itself.  I use a couple of different brushes - one looks a lot like a makeup brush (although would be pretty coarse on skin!) and the other fits between the gears in a cassette.  I put some Bio Cycle in a container, dip the brushes in, and scrub away.  It takes some patience because there's tonnes of nooks and crannies.

Nice shiny drivetrain!  The frame still needs work...
Now time for the frame itself.  I use Green Fizz which is like bike frame shampoo, and for the tough grease I spray on Simple Green.  I take the wheels off, as it makes it easier to get inside the fork and chain stays - those areas get pretty dirty.  I rinse the bike with a hose, spray Green Fizz all over, fill a bucket with water and splash some more Green Fizz in, get a sponge and scrub away.  I start at the top because the top tube is usually pretty clean, and it gets dirtier and greasier as you go down.  That way I'm not spreading dirt and grease around too much.  I rinse the frame off with the hose, take a good look, and repeat if necessary.  I like to spend the time on this and pay attention, as it gives me a good chance to inspect the frame really closely to make sure there are no problems.  Then I wipe off the excess water with a soft cloth.  We have bike polish which makes it all nice and shiny, but I didn't use any this time.

Why I take the wheels off - inside the rear cutout before.

Inside the rear cutout after.
I wipe down the wheels and put them back on, and the final step is to lube the chain.  I didn't do that this time though, as later tonight I'll be packing up my bike to travel to San Diego.  Packing up a bike is kind of chore (I discussed in detail how to do it here), but it's a chore I enjoy simply because it means I'm going on a trip!  I'm heading to Encinitas to do some high-volume training with Kiki before it's back to work in September.  Stay tuned!


No comments:

Post a Comment