Fall Bicycle Maintenance Tips
Extending your riding season into the fall and winter in Central New York means getting caught in wet, rainy weather at some point. Give your bike a little love and attention to keep it running smoothly.
It takes less than half an hour to clean your bike up. For your efforts, you’ll get to ride without any annoying squeaking or grinding noises. Better yet, you’ll extend the life of your bike. Grit from rainy weather will wear down the chain, gears, brakes and rims if not cleaned off.
Start your bike clean-up with an initial rinse. Otherwise, you’ll end up swirling around every bit of gritty debris and scratching your frame’s glossy finish. Using the light-shower setting on your garden hose, spray off your entire bike top to bottom before you go near it with a soapy sponge.
Then take a soft-bristled brush and a bucket of warm, soapy, water and slowly go over the bike from top to bottom, removing as much grit and mud as you can. Any grit you leave on the bike will act as an abrasive against the different parts so this is important. Go over the gears and derailleur, then wipe down the chain and the rims. Open the brakes and get the grit out from between the rims and the brake pads.
Next, degrease the drivetrain. When your chain is gunky, spray degreaser on, hold a rag against it and backpedal to clean it. Spray and wipe until the chain runs clean against the rag. To finish, degrease chainrings, the cassette and derailleur pulleys to prevent buildup from finding its way onto the chain and speeding wear.
Apply lube to the chain once you’re done cleaning it. If you’re going to be riding a lot in rain, or on long-distance trips, a wet-weather lube like Finish Line Wet Lubricant is a good option.