Introduction: Portable and Winter Mountain or Cyclocross Bike Washing Tip
As you may be aware, the mud is much easier to remove when it is still wet, so the faster you get it done after your ride the less effort required and the more thorough a cleaning job can be.
Two situations that occur to me are the following, but I'm sure there are more:
- My outdoor hosebibs are located such that I shut down and drain the exterior water line to the hosebibs for the winter. However, that does not stop me from riding and so I often find myself with a muddy bike and no means to wash it.
- Sometimes I will drive (by vehicle) to a remote location and encounter sufficiently muddy trails. There is no place to wash the bike, so you load it back on your vehicle and the mud dries on the way home. This assumes there is no creek nearby to wash your bike in.
Step 1: The Sprayer Solution
I use a 2 gallon capacity pump sprayer with wand that you can purchase in the lawn and garden section of any hardware or big box store. Based on internet reviews, my sprayer is not supposed to be that great, but it was what Home Depot had for the best price, at the time I needed it, It's working for me so far, however.
When using it at home on cold winter days, I fill it with warm water from the laundry sink.
For travel, just fill it before you leave home and leave it in your vehicle. so it's ready as soon as your ride is over.
I have found the pressure is adequate for removing wet mud and small debris quite well. The spray can be adjusted from a broad spray to narrow by twisting the nozzle end. The good thing about the light pressure is that you don't have to worry about spraying it into areas where you might worry about spraying a high pressure garden hose. Used in conjunction with a brush or two you can do a rather thorough job while out on the road.
Step 2: Vary Spray Output for Best Results
Use the wide spray for larger areas and lighter mud. Supplement spraying with a soft brush to speed removal on larger areas.
Use the narrow spray to pinpoint tight areas or remove thick or stubborn areas of mud.
Use a cassette cleaning tool for pulling clumps of muddy leaves and grass out of tight areas.
When it's cold you can pretty much use the sprayer and a few tools to clean most of the bike without getting your hands wet.
Keep pumping to maintain suitable pressure.
I also use it for cleaning off my shoes.
Step 3: Ready to Ride Again
As you can see by the photos, the results are pretty good even without the use of a soft brush, as in this case since I was photographing with one hand. Better results with a soft brush and/or a rag.
Don't forget to lube your chain immediately.
It may not be the same results I would get in warmer weather, but definitely suitable. Also provides suitable cleaning while on the road.
Hope this tip helps.