I was once told that cleaning your bike is the best way of maintaining it. I mean, it makes sense really: a sparkly bike means less grit wearing everything down. Especially in your drivetrain which can be a really expensive area to replace altogether. It only makes sense to keep it clean.
When I first got a bike, I used to use a bucket of water and Muc-Off Bike Cleaner to get it clean. Sometimes, Aldi has them in cheap, but often I’d get them online. Coupled with the Muc-Off 5 Brush Set (well worth the money), it brought the dirt of my bike well. The little claw brush, and the one with the split in the middle are particular favourites of mine and really get into all the small places that might otherwise go uncleaned.
The bike itself had to be clean before I’d finished for the day as it used to live in the cupboard under the stairs. As you can imagine, this soon got old. Cold rides in December, complete with snow, meant that the bike was filthy and I was freezing. To get home and then have to wash the bike was a bit of a task.
That’s when I opted to buy a portable jet wash (battery charged). I know, I know. “What about the grease in your bearings?!” Well, it’s never caused me any bother so far and I’ve had it well over a year now. I think the important thing to remember is that these things aren’t like the jet wash you’d use on your car. They’re more like portable hosepipes that you can put in the back of your car, and nobody ever worries about using hosepipes. The pressure is enough that you can clean up your bike, but it’s not so powerful that you can use it on your patio. Not only that, but if you’re watching what you’re doing you’ll not focus on the places where you’ll blast the grease out. Obviously.
Truth be told, that purchase has made washing my bike an absolute dream. It’s meant that my car is cleaner inside than ever before because I’m not hurling a dirty bike in the back every week, and I can clean at the end of a ride whilst still wearing my bike gear. Plus, it saves loads of time. Getting the water from a bucket onto the brush, over the bike and then rinsing off used to take forever. Spraying on, rubbing with a brush and then rinsing off is a breeze.
These portable things are bigger than they look too. Mine’s 20L and it easily washes down two bikes post-ride and often has some spare water. If I was a bit more sparing with it (I really like to spray everything) I reckon I could squeeze three bikes out of it. Maybe.
A quick dry with an old tea towel, or tee, and the bike’s clean and ready for the car. I don’t have to worry about the cupboard under the stairs anymore and the bike goes straight into the garage now (we moved), but it’s nice to know that it’s clean and ready for the ride next time.