Al’s Fast & Easy Bike Cleaning
DEAR UNCLE AL: I hear you loud and clear about keeping bikes clean, but I’d really rather ride my bike during my spare time, not clean it. For those of us who hate all cleaning, bike or house, what is the fastest way to clean the bike or drivetrain to keep it in good (acceptable) condition? — Mark G.
UNCLE AL FIRES BACK: After every ride, take a can of Pledge furniture polish and spray it on your frame, avoiding the rims and brake pads. Wipe it down good.
Or, if you’ve ridden in the wet, mist the bike with a hose, spray on Simple Green Bike Cleaner/Degreaser foam, let it sit a few, spray it off, then dry with a soft clean cloth.
The Pledge approach takes about 5 minutes. The Simple Green approach takes longer, but you can shower while the foam works its magic.
The secret to chain cleaning is to use a dry lube, let it really dry and don’t over lube, which nearly everyone does. I lube my chain when a link starts to chirp, never before.
Put one drop of lube on each roller. Don’t drown the chain, and don’t wipe it down with a rag. You’ll just force the surface dirt into the rollers, which are the working surface of the chain.
If you make this a ritual, your bike will never get really dirty (rainy rides excepted), so cleaning will be so quick that it won’t cut into riding time.