Tips and tricks for a clean bike

Everyone can think of tons of fun things to do instead of cleaning your bike. Especially after a satisfying and relaxing ride. Yet it is important to keep your bike clean. This doesn't mean it has to be perfectly clean after every ride. To prolong the life of the bike parts it is important to clean them more thoroughly now and then, especially after very dirty rides.

A nicely cleaned Gazelle bike - source - cc

During a bikepacking trip this is not always convenient, but it is important to keep the derailleur, cassette, chain and crankset clean. This does not have to be perfect, of course. It is handy to take a shortened toothbrush with you to briefly go over the gears in the evening. With a small rag you can also clean the chain sufficiently. Afterwards don’t forget to grease the chain a little (really not much!).

It is important to clean the bike thoroughly before your departure. This gives you also the opportunity to do a final inspection of your equipment. How to clean your bike properly is explained below. 

You do not have to take your bike apart to clean all the nooks and crannies. It is best to just take out the two wheels. This makes it easier to clean them separately. First, use a garden hose without too much pressure (avoid a high-pressure cleaner!) to thoroughly rinse the bike, especially the least accessible places.

This S-Works is made for getting muddy - source - cc

To easily scrub away the dirt, it is interesting to secure your bike to a tripod or to the ceiling using a hook system. This way you can easily reach everything without further hurting your tired leg and back muscles. A tripod system you can easily move, for example outside. Your bike will be more stable and will not move too much during cleaning.

For the frame and wheels you can easily use a sponge, bucket with lukewarm water and soap. In no time your frame will be completely clean. You can then hose down the frame again and dry it, although it is best to do this after you have cleaned the gears and brakes.

The cogs in the cassette and the crank are the hardest to clean. If you can't get everything spotless, don't worry. The bike will never be brand new again, and that's not a problem at all. To get rid of the dirt that often sticks to the old lubricant, it is best to use a degreasing soap. For this you can just use some detergent and an old toothbrush. This way you can scrub every tiny little spot easily.

Your crank will get dirty quickly on your bikepacking trip - source - cc

After cleaning, hose down the whole bike and dry the different parts thoroughly. It is best to let your bike drain a little more, because some dirty water will still drip from the gears, although you should make sure they are not too wet. It is best to place an old sheet under the bike so that the watery grease does not fall onto your cobblestones or garage floor. Afterwards, you assemble your bike, and you can lubricate the chain while pedaling. Here you must be sure not to make the chain too greasy, because that is not necessary and only makes more dirt stick to it. Subsequently, you’ll have to scrub harder next time…