Bike-washing tips from the pros
“Cut off the top of a plastic water bottle. Fill it with a water-based degreaser, like Simple Green, and place it in your seat-tube bottle cage (for easy access). Use a paintbrush to apply the degreaser to the chain. Finish by holding a soapy sponge around the chain and turning the cranks. Hose off the excess and let it dry.” —Adrian Hedderman, head mechanic.
“Every third or fourth wash, give your frame and fork a layer of car wax. I like Meguiar’s Cleaner Wax. It restores the paint’s luster and keeps road tar and bugs from sticking.” — Steven Sperling, head mechanic, United-Healthcare pro cycling team.
“Clean a grimy cassette or freewheel: Remove the wheel, and lay it flat with cogs up. Dampen the edge of a rag with solvent and pull it back and forth between each cog. No need to rotate the wheel; the freewheel keeps the cogs moving.” —Jim Langley, author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop.
“Braking causes aluminum rims to oxidize, leaving a layer of grit that can contaminate brake pads. Every 100 miles, more often if you ride in wet conditions, wipe your rims with a dry cloth.” —Tori Bortman, owner of Gracie’s Wrench in Portland.
“I prefer natural Tampico bristle brushes. Unlike nylon ones, they don’t hold dirt, grease, or oil. Rinse the grime out of the bristles before moving on to the next part, and you can attack a filthy drivetrain and a mud-spattered frame with the same brush.” —Bernard Kocis, team mechanic, UnitedHealthcare pro cycling team.