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Cleaning your bike

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Knowledge Level: Beginner

Especially in the winter, when there’s corrosive salt on the road, washing your bike should be your first task when you return from any ride. Even in the summer months, keeping your bike clean will improve its performance, prolong the life of components and allow you to check it over for any faults that you can then correct before your next outing.

Here the British Cycling mechanic shows you how to clean your bike quickly and effectively.


  • Work-stand
  • Chain keeper
  • Large bucket of soapy water
  • Stiff bristled brush
  • Larger softer bristled brush
  • Sponge
  • Hose
  • Water bottle cut in half for degreaser
  • Liquid degreaser
  • Chain lubricant

Step-by-step Guide

  1. Put the bike in the stand and take the wheels out.
  2. Insert the chain keeper.
  3. Use the stiff brush to carefully apply degreaser to the chain, mechs and the cassette.
  4. While the degreaser works, use the larger brush, sponge and soapy water to wash the front wheel, paying particular attention to the braking surface. Rinse off the soap with the hose.
  5. Spray the degreaser off the cassette and then wash the rest of the rear wheel using the larger brush, sponge and soapy water. Give it a final rinse with the hose.
  6. Use the hose to wash the degreaser off the drivetrain.
  7. Sponge wash the frame, forks and the rest of the bike.
  8. Spray off any remaining soap.
  9. Replace the wheels and let the bike drip dry.
  10. Re-lube the chain.

With a little practice, this whole process can take as little as 5 minutes and will help to guarantee that your bike will always be clean, safe and ready to ride.

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