MIKE’S BIKE ADVICE – Weekly Bike Maintenance Advice Column Featuring the Advice of Mike Partington, Bicycle Mechanic Extraordinaire at Cycle Portland in Old Town PDX
Its wet out there! Riding in the rain is just part of the Portland biking experience. Proper bike care during the rainy season makes it all the more fun to get out there and mash in a rain shower. Mike will tell you, “A squeaky chain won’t do you any favors.” The most important part of wet riding maintenance is properly cleaning and oiling your chain. Mud and road debris that find their way onto your chain often cause shifting issues, noise and other performance issues. A dirty chain causes pre-mature wear on your entire drive train; neglecting a dirty chain can end up costing you money when you have to replace your chainrings, pulleys and cassette.
This is a chain that hasn’t been maintained, rusty from rain and Mike is going to take us through the process of cleaning and re-lubing.
Just as it is important not to leave your bike out in the rain for too long it is important to dry off water once inside as water left on the chain rusts. During the PNW winter, Mike recommends cleaning and oiling your chain at least once a week.
Cleaning your chain is quick and simple with the right tools. First, clean the chain, you can degrease with a citrus-based cleaner such as Finish Line Citrus Chain Degreaser, and scrub with a rag. It’s really important to get all of the degreaser off before applying the oil.
Mikes favorite chain oil in the shop is Tri-Flow. It is really important to use a rag to remove all excess oil after applying. Excess oil when it dries can become chunky and attract debris to your chain.
And viola! The shiny clean chain
We always have a basic selection of degreasers, cleaning tools and oils for chain/ bike maintenance at Cycle Portland. We are happy to provide what you need for regular DIY bike maintenance.
If you would rather have a professional maintain your bike, Mike is always happy to check out your ride and is in the shop Monday through Friday. Cycle Portland offers free estimates and same day service for most maintenance and repairs. Cleaning and oiling the chain is included in our $30 Safety Tune where Mike will also inspect/ adjust your gears, brakes and wheels/rims for proper functioning and performance.
Have a safe, well-oiled ride in the rain and hope we see you and your bike soon at Cycle Portland! And check out the column next week when we talk about the best brake pads and braking systems for riding in wet weather!