The proper way to wash your bike

By STU THORNE for Pedro’s, Director of, Eight-time U.S. World Cyclocross Team Mechanic

Now that the riding is over, you can give the bike a complete and detailed wash. This is a great time to thoroughly inspect and clean the bike from top to bottom. Washing your bike immediately after a ride prolongs the life of the frame and components, while making sure that it is at 100 percent for the next ride.

  • Assemble together all of the supplies you will need. A good cleaning kit like the Pedros Pit Bucket works well and can be supplemented with a variety of brushes and sponges. Fill the bucket with warm, soapy water.
  • Start by removing the wheels and spraying the cassette with a degreaser or citrus cleaner. Set the wheels aside and let the degreaser work its magic.
  • Install a chain guide, like the Pedro's Chain Watcher, to facilitate cleaning the drivetrain. Shift the chain up onto the large chainring. Using degreaser and a brush, scrub the chain, chainrings and derailleurs. Inspect the chain for any abnormalities at this point.
  • Scrub the cassette with a brush. (I always use the same brush for cleaning the drivetrain. It keeps the other brushes free from the grease that would otherwise muck up the rest of the bike).
  • Using a moderately stiff-bristled brush, clean the rims and tires using the warm soapy water.
  • Rinse the drivetrain and wheels with water. I use a standard garden hose with a basic adjustable spray nozzle for all of the rinsing and washing.
  • After cleaning and degreasing the drivetrain, use a soft-bristled brush and scrub the rest of the bike. A variety of small round brushes will allow you to reach the hard-to-get spots.
  • Rinse the complete bike and dry with a soft towel. If you have compressed air, it helps to speed the drying process.
  • When the bike is dry, re-lube the chain and derailleurs and polish the frame. I use Pedros ChainJ lube and Bike Lust Polish. When lubing the chain place a drop of lube on each link and wipe off the excess
Now you are ready to ride.