Wet. That's what a lot of my riding seems to be lately. Winter's last gasp (hopefully) means the tail end of melting snow and but now we're moving into early spring rain. And that translates into lots of crapola on the bike, from salt spray to road grime to just plain old water thrown up by my tires.
You're probably smarter than me and do this sort of thing already, but I've been congratulating myself on the set-up I've created as a result of all this filth on my bike that I carry home every day. What I did was put a plastic milk crate right where I park my bike, and filled it with cleaning supplies. Here's what's in it:
- Small bottle of oil
- An old toothbrush
- Tire pump
- Air pressure gauge
That stuff is there and handy for me because right after each ride I take (literally) just a minute or two and carefully wipe down the bike. I do both the frame and the wheels, and then lubricate the chain and other moving parts as needed. The brush is for getting out any tough gunk, and I use the tire pump and gauge to check air pressure before I ride the next time. The key is having your supplies handy, so it's easy to do. I know if I have to go off hunting for stuff, it's probably not going to happen.
Not only does little quick bit of easy maintenance help prolong the life of your bike and its components, but there is something great about riding a clean bike. You tend to feel better about it and take even better care of it.
Here's a link to a list of preventative maintenance tasks and their recommended frequency, if you're looking for an idea of exactly what sorts of things you want to do for your bike and how often.
Image: Douglas - Westbound/Flickr