Here at Cycle Portland we love passing on our bike maintenance tips and tricks to help you keep your steed running smoothly as well as prolong the life of your components. In this post we discuss an “after every ride” suggestion…
On damp, rainy days like today (and let’s be honest, like most Fall/Winter/Spring days here in P-town), it’s extra important to keep your bike happy and healthy to keep your commute safe, fun, and timely. If your bike is a year-round commuter like mine, one of the best bike maintenance things you can do to keep your steed in ship shape is to give it a simple wipe-down at the end of every day.
Here’s our strategy: It’s as simple as keeping a designated rag (read: old teeshirt) by your front door to give your bike a quick once over when you get home. For the sake of both your bike storage space and your bike, towel it off a bit– as your shower curtains know all too well, air drying starting from dripping wet is nearly impossible in this climate. Get rid of dirt, salt and road grit that’s collected on your frame and moving parts, paying extra attention to exposed metal (I’m looking at you, tiny paint chips!) Keep an eye out for anything collecting on your wheel’s rims– you want to make sure your break pads have a good surface to grip without risking damage to the rim by grinding any debris into the metal. If you’ve got disc breaks, give those some extra love, too!
Contrary to popular belief, water on metal alone is not what causes rust, it’s a deadly combination of water, dead leaves, road top chemicals, sweat, and other particulates that do serious damage to your bike. Keeping your bike wiped down every day prolongs the life of your bike and the structural integrity of your frame in our climate. It also helps to keep you aware of bike maintenance issues before they become safety problems.
So get down and dirty with your bike this winter, because a happy bike makes a happy commuter!