Q: How do you clean your bike after a wet and windy ride?
Brandon Marsh answers
A: Though wind may not cause any permanent damage to your bike, mud, water and grime can. If not thoroughly washed, road debris can eat away at your gears and frame. So no matter how exhausted you are after a hard ride, opting for a post-ride siesta before cleaning your bike could be a costly mistake.
What you need
Find a well-drained area outside where a hose can reach. If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor shower, definitely use it. Otherwise, you’ll want to use a typical garden-style water hose with a multi-select sprayer head. Slide it to the “shower” setting.
Then, gather these accessories:
What you do
1. Clean off the bike with water, being careful not to spray directly onto the bearings.
2. Apply a little dish soap to one wet sponge cloth and de-grime the handlebars, rims, spokes, pedals and around the chain and gears. Dish soap is good at cleaning off greasy surfaces, which are what you want to tackle first. This will lessen the chance of getting grease on the frameset — especially important if you have a white or light-colored bike.
3. Rinse everything off again using the delicate “shower” setting and allow a few minutes for the bike to dry.
4. Grab a clean sponge cloth and wet it with the glass cleaner. (Do not spray the glass cleaner directly on your bike.) Now, wipe down your frameset — the seat, seat post and down tube — until shiny and sparkling clean.
5. Finally, tackle the chain by applying a few drops of bike lube on the chain links and on any pivot points (points that move). Let it sit for 10-15 minutes before wiping off the excess.
Amy Marsh is a four-time Ironman champion, two-time Iron distance champion, and was named the 2010 USAT Long Distance Triathlete of the Year. Brandon Marsh has been competing in triathlons since 1988, and can be counted on to be a top-10 contender in every event he enters. Got a question about swim-bike-run or sports nutrition for Team Marsh? Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter, follow Brandon @BrandonMarshTX and follow Amy @AmyCMarsh.