You are not alone. The last thing anyone wants to do when they climb off their bike, is give it a clean. However! As we all know, the best way to make your bike last and keep working properly is to keep it clean. Got 10 minutes?
You’ve had a shower, got dressed, maybe had a brew, right now is the best time to give it a clean, while the ride endorphins are still pumping, you are still in your post-ride happy place, feeling unbridled love for your bike. Get ‘ur bucket.
If you have a workstand or something to hang your bike from, get your bike on it and drop out the wheels. This is a good chance to clean the bits where wheels make it tricky to clean, such as the chain stays and under the fork crown. It’s also a good time to spot any future issues.
When I dropped the wheels out I noticed the rear deraileur bolt had rattled itself loose after a fair amount of gravel miles – also explains annoying gear issue on my last ride. A quick ‘once-over’ to make sure eveything is still tight should prevent issues out on the road and trails.
Time for a gentle rinse, I use a garden hose with a sprinkler, power washers can be a bit too powerful and blast through seals and remove grease particularly from bottom bracket and headset bearings. If you use a pressure washer try to avoid bearing seals.
Give the wheels a quick wash and remove any build of of gunk between the cassette sprockets. This gunk is the dirt, dust and old lubricant from previous rides. A quick check around the rim, tyre and spokes should alert you to any issues. If you are running tubeless tyres this could be a good time to add a little sealant.
Rinse and Repeat!
Once the wheels are slotted back in, clean the chain using a chain bath or an old T shirt and degreaser, before drying off and applying a little fresh chain lube. 10 Minutes done!
Now its all clean and lubed, time to go rattle bits loose and get it filthy again…