Sunday, April 12, 2009

Now That's What I Call a Clean Bike

Last week we had a couple of afternoons that were dry. Honestly, it was hard not to get out for some short rides but instead I opted to wash the cars and mow the lawn. Mowing the lawn was a couple of day process because it was the first mow of the year and the grass was incredibly long. Before you get the impression that I prefer yard work over cycling let me explain. My theory was if I got all of the work I normally try to fit in on Saturday done during the week I would be free to get some serious miles in instead of slaving around the yard.

My plan was going just as planned in fact Jenny and I actually mopped the kitchen together on Friday night to get that out of the way too. As luck would have it on Saturday morning it was rainy so our ride was scrubbed.

Since I had some extra time on my hands I opted to do some much needed bike maintenance instead. Buttsy left me a comment a couple of weeks ago telling me that she cleaned her bike drive train with some kerosene and a paint brush and then followed up by cleaning the rest of her bike with cheap baby wipes. I’ve always just given the chain an occasional wipe down so I was curious to see just how well this would work.

Buttsy was right, the kerosene and paint brush trick cleaned the chain surprising well. In fact, I’m surprised Billy Mays doesn’t try to sell this technique on late night infomercial TV. I think he could be successful with it.

After I cleaned up the drive train I hit the rest of the bike with baby wipes. Again, I was surprised at how well it worked. I was able to get all of the road grime off of the bike very easily and then toss the used wipes in the garbage. Way better than using one of my old t-shirts for bike cleaning. What a genius idea. I only had time to do Jenny’s bike but I don’t think it has been this clean since the day we bought it.

After the cleaning I made some adjustments to Jenny’s brakes and reapplied some oil to her chain. I’m thinking she is good to go at least for a while. Thanks for sharing your bike maintenance tricks with me Buttsy. Anyone else got any great tips you’d like to share? I’m always game for some new tricks.


Linda said...

I was waiting with my sunglasses on to see how good Jenny's bike looked! I'll be using Buttsy's technique soon too as most of my bike is white, especially the parts that are lowest to the ground.

Jenny-Jenny said...

Oh yes, sunglasses would have been a good idea. Now don't be thinking that I don't take care of my bike here. It's just that I have Bike Boy living at my house so I can worry about other things like making him a sammich.

jeff said...

I'm sure you would have rather been riding, but cleaning a bike in exchange for a sammich? Sounds like a good deal.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering what you were doing mowing the lawn. Isn't that why people have children? But the idea of "paying forward" on your housework certainly is interesting.

Rob said...

I've done the baby wipe thing, and it does work well. I don't worry too much about the cleanliness of the bike, but I do for the chain, cogs, and derailleurs.
Here's a trick for the chain: make sure to clean it before lubricating it. Lubing a dirty chain can wash particles into the rollers. Also, replace the chain every 2500 miles or so to avoid replacing the rear cassette. I had to replace the cassette and chain because I waited too long.