Mick's Tips - How to clean a bicycle

There are probably other ways of washing a bicycle - this is just how I wash mine. By MICK ALLAN


A workstand is great for this - and you can opt to take the wheels out for a proper 'pro' clean.

You'll need: (1) a bucket full of (2) hot water containing (3) the recommended dose of a good quality car shampoo (washing-up liquid has salt in it which is abrasive and will rot your bike)
4) one of those plastic soft bristled car wash brushes
5) a low pressure hose pipe.
6) a clutch of cotton rags
7) a microfibre cloth

Lean your bike up (on its RH side) so it's stable. Soak it with the hose - gently, and stay away from the bearings. You are aiming to remove any big lumps of crap and to soften any which remains for the next phase. You're not going to get it all off with the hose so don't bother trying. And don't be tempted to spray it with a jet of water. It's surprisingly easy to get water past a perfectly good bearing seal with a spray. Do that to the non-drive side of your rear hub and it'll be new wheel time.

If it was really manky leave it to soak for a bit.

Now, load the brush with copious amounts of hot soapy water and starting at the top, wash the bike down, LH side first then turn it around and do the RH side. Pay particular attention to the wheels, turning them as you go so that you get every surface.

If you have been following the ... ahem ..  'Mickle method' of chain maintenance you can completely ignore the chain, because it will be perfectly capable of surviving a splash of water. Rinse the bike with the hose going back over it with the soapy brush if you find areas you've missed. Then dry the whole bike off with the cotton rags and when that's done wipe the chain down to remove excess H2O and then lube it in the normal way.

The last thing to do is give your brightwork a going over with the microfibre.

Even the most vociferous advocate of the aforementioned 'Mickle method' will occasionally need to remove the chainset to get in and clean the back of it and the nooks and crannies behind it. Though nothing can beat a full strip down a re-build. It's nice to do it every couple or three years. Most of mine are well overdue..

This advice first appeared in a thread on the very excellent Cyclechat discussion forum