May 12, 2017 - Josh Tack keeps us in the loop each month with his Touring Gear and Tips blog.
Gravel adventures in the spring: They always sound like a great idea, right up until you roll back home and realize what a mess you’ve made. As tempting as it is, resist the urge to grab a pressure washer and blast the dirt off your bike. Yeah, you’ll knock the dirt off your bike, but you’ll also force a lot of it into your bearings, leading to a costly bottom bracket, pedal, hub, and headset overhaul.
The best thing you can do with a muddy bike after a cold, hard ride is relax. Go take a hot shower, eat some food, and pet your cat. Once you’re feeling refreshed, step back outside and get to work. You can get your bike looking clean with a rag and bucket of soapy water.
If you want to that bike to shine, though, here are some Finish Line products I’ve been loving throughout this wet and muddy spring season.
Showroom Polish & Protectant is incredible. You only need to prewash your bike if you have an excessive amount of mud on it. Otherwise, spray it on, let it sit for 10 to 20 seconds, and wipe it off. It won’t just make your bike shine like new; it also leaves a slick film behind to help repel dirt, sweat, and rain on future rides. It’s safe to use on all frame materials, and you can pick it up in an 11oz aerosol can, one-liter spray bottle, or even 32oz and 128oz jugs.
If your drivetrain has become a despicable greasy mess, meet your new best friend. No matter how much grease is caked on your chain, pulleys, and chainring, Speed Bike Degreaser will dissolve it down to a point where it can be wiped off with a rag. In fact, it’s almost scary how well it works. Just be sure you wear gloves and eye protection, because just like candy, nothing this good can do your body any favors.
Once you’ve successfully knocked all the grease and grime off your bike, you’re going to want to get some lube back on it. I’ve been dripping Wet Lube bike lubricant on my chain this spring, but depending on your local riding conditions, you may also want to check out their dry, wax, and ceramic chain lubricants. Just remember that a little goes a long way when applying chain lube. Too much lube is a grimy dirt magnet.
Once you’ve got your bike cleaned and lubed up, you’re free to relax until tomorrow’s ride!
Photos by Josh Tack
TOURING GEAR & TIPS is written by Joshua Tack of Adventure Cycling’s member services department. It appears once each month, highlighting technical aspects of bicycle touring and offering advice to help better prepare you for the journey ahead. Look for Josh’s “Fine Tuned” column in Adventure Cyclist magazine as well.