Cycling in the age of COVID-19 means having to take extra precautions. People often think of sanitizing their hands and items that come into contact with strangers, but how often do you sanitize your regular or hybrid bike? Sure, you can wipe down your bicycle with disinfectant wipes, especially if they are suitable for painted objects or sensitive equipment, but to get a bike really clean, you need to wash you. Think about it, the CDC recommends washing your hands as the number one defender against infection, so washing your bike should protect it against germs. There is a process for cleaning your bike, but first, pay attention to the warnings.
When choosing to wash city bikes or hybrid bikes, you need to consider the tools and equipment. Many people wrongly assume that using a pressure washer or other high-velocity device is best. However, using such a device can actually imbed dirt and debris in the gears and bushings, which will eventually lead to performance decline. Also, people often mix the use of buckets and rags, but using the same rag you used to clean your chain will only spread grease onto the frame. Be sure to use separate rags and buckets for the main components of your bicycle.
The beauty of washing your bicycle is that most of the tools you need are found in our house already. For example, most homeowners have dish soap, sponges, garden hose, scrub brushes, buckets and clean rags. If you do not have access to all these items, then they are not expensive products.
Once you have everything you need to clean your traditional or electric bikes, you will want to set up your space. First, mount your bike on a bike stand. Then, remove the tires to make it easier to clean the frame. If you can, purchase a chain keeper to help keep the chain in place with the tires removed. Finally, fill your buckets with water and dish soap and lay your tools out in plain sight.
You can break the wash down into four sections: the chain, drivetrain, frame and wheels. Use a degreaser on the chain, cranking backward to coat every link. Leave the degreaser on for about five or 10 minutes, then rinse. If needed, use dish soap and a sponge to remove any more grime.
For the drivetrain, use a stiff-bristled brush dipped in the buckets. Scrub the chainrings and the crevices. You should also use the brush to scrub the cassette, and then rinse.
Finally, for the frame and wheels, use a soft sponge, dipping into the second clean soapy water bucket. Soap up the entire structure and wheels, getting every nook before rinsing.
With all the parts washed, you can now dry every piece off with a clean rag. Reattach the wheels and any other components. Finally, lube the chain and crank it to make sure that everything is working correctly.
COVID-19 has made sanitizing and cleaning surfaces a necessity. The above process will help you maintain a clean bicycle, but if you would like more information about sanitizing your bike or the tools discussed, contact a local bike shop.