As the leaves wither and fall off the trees and the rain falls from the sky, and the two mix together and make a hazardous slippy mush on every street corner…As the mornings, evenings and afternoons become steadily darker and greyer…Fight the temptation to wither and crawl into a hole until spring. Fight the weather like Mel Gibson in Brave Heart: “You can take my general comfort levels, but you will never take my commute!” That’s what he said right?
Lish (one of our lovely mechanic/teachers) says clean your bike with the seasons, and by great Odin’s beard she’s right! So now’s the time people, show your bike some love! Take it on a nice date, or…
Give it a bubble bath. (because that’s a nice thing you can do in your house)
Clean your chain! – In the winter your chain picks up way more gross stuff from the road, grit sticks to the oil on the chain if you have lots of oil, and if you don’t clean it then your chain will rust super fast from the salt on the roads. A dirty chain will wear out much quicker than a clean one. The dirt in your chain makes a paste which is like sand paper, that will also wear out your chain rings and your cassette/freewheel/sprocket! Changing all that is super expensive so…
1) lay down some newspaper
2) turn your bike upside down
3) with a dirty rag and some de-greaser wipe all the nasty black stuff off your chain & chain ring
4) Use a flat screwdriver &/or toothbrush to scrape/brush all the crud out of your cassette/rear mech/sprocket
5) Rinse off the degreaser with warm soapy water (it doesn’t need to be warm but come on it’s winter, you’ve had cold hands all day)
6) Re-lubricate your chain with a generous amount of wet lube (we’re using Pedro’s Synlube at the mo, Paul Tenacious Oil is pretty nice too!)
7) Use a rag to wipe off all the excess lube – this step is super important! Any excess lube will make loads of dirt stick to your chain again! And this is a messy job so the less you need to do it the better!
8) Try having a bubble bath for you and your bike (separately) every couple of weeks in the winter if you ride rain or shine, or less often if you ride less or only when it’s dry
If your feeling really swanky, or even amorous towards it:
Take it for a spa treatment!
Rozone the sh*t out of it!
Pop down to your local super lovely and friendly and nice Rozone equipped DIY bike workshop, (we’ve got a great little place in de Beauvoir, you should pop in some time.)
What’s a Rozone you ask? Well are you sitting comfortably?…. then let’s begin.
Ever heard of Shell or Exxon-Mobil? Hmm those words remind me of some news headlines? Something about Nigeria? No! Oil spills! Yes oil spills! And what do you use to clean up tonnes of sticky nasty black crude oil? ENZYMES! THAT’S WHAT!!! So if these lovely little enzymes can clean up thousands of tonnes of the grossest oil ever just think what they’ll do to your bike! Make it nice n shiny that’s what!
So if you do this one time at the beginning of winter and then again at the end your lovely companion will live longer and work better.
1) Remove your chain
2) Remove your right hand pedal
3) Remove your right hand crank with all the chain rings on it
4) Remove your cassette from your rear wheel
5) Remove your brakes and derailleurs (optional)
6) Put them all in the unholy font that is the rozone, making sure there are no components with sealed bearings in
7) Put some rubber gloves on (or the enzymes will eat your hands like a hungry cougar! Just kidding they may irritate your hands)
8) Scrub them until they look new with the lovely warm enzyme juice (yes, it’s warm)
9) Rinse thoroughly with water in the sink, dry with a towel
- Lubricate appropriately
Sounds like loads of work and quite complicated? Its not! And we’re pros! We can help you! It’s our job! And make tea! A warming autumnal soup if you’re lucky!
If your not sure about anything just ask – don’t be shy.
You don’t have to have spa treatments for your bike all the time but treat it nice once in a while and it’ll pay you back!
See you soon?
Your friends, the London Bike Kitchen xxx