In this 'ible I'll show you how I clean my bike after it's been raining for weeks and the caked on mud is sure to lead to grinding damage to the components.
It was late night when I cleaned my bike and realized I should share what I did after I cleaned the bike so the images in this 'ible are re-enacted. The only hint of how dirty the bike was is in the image showing the underside of the saddle.
Where in the Apartment?
Anywhere with tile or waterproof / easy to clean floor. I used my kitchen but you may want to use your balcony, bathroom, or even the hallway outside your micro domicile.
Step 1: What You'll Need
- 2 Wash Basins (wide and shallow is best)
- Biodegradable Single Use Scrub Brush
- Pre Soaped Rag (Makes for easier cleaning later, not shown in image)
- Hot Soapy Water
Step 2: Keeping the Mess Contained
As you move from front to back on your bike place the wheels in the largest basin so that you catch as much nasty runoff and splash as possible. Be sure when you move to the cranks that you move the basin under the cranks, same goes for gears.
Step 3: Scrub Your Front Wheel
While moving your brush across your rims inspect them and contemplate the miles they've carried you and the times they may have saved your life. Or perhaps the impeccable aerodynamic engineering and workmanship that goes into a decent pair of rims. As you move up the fork after completing one side of the rim/wheel be sure to look and clean your front break from all angles, especially the underside which collects most of the debris.
As you clean the front break check your wheel is true by spinning it between the break pads and checking for wobble. Rinse your brush often and proceed to the next side of the rim/wheel then continue down the frame letting the runoff drip into the catch basin.
Step 4: Frame to Crank
Thoroughly scrub your cranks and try to get into all the nooks and crannies between the crank and frame. If your chain is particularly dirty this is the time to give your chain and pre deep clean scrub down. Scrub both sides of the chain while rotating the pedals until the entire chain has been covered. Again, this will quickly dirty the brush so be sure to soak the brush back in the hot soapy solution regularly.
Step 5: Rear Hub and Wheel
Move the basin under the rear wheel and proceed to clean the wheel, hub and brake following the same mindful cleaning process as we practiced on the front wheel. We're nearly done and this process is quick, easy and simple to clean up after.
Step 6: Wipe Down
Finally get a very dry cloth and dry the rear tire so you don't leave a trail as you move the bike back wherever you keep it. You're nearly done and you're bike is ready for it's oil bath.
Step 7: Final Cleanup
Dealing with Waste
I poured the dirty soapy water into an empty 5L plastic bottle for disposal. The biodegradeable scrub brush will be buried in the compost and the buckets will be cleaned while the dirty rag is cleaned. Once the rag is clean and wrung out I used it to clean the floor and cleaned it one more time and left it soaking in fresh hot soapy water.
Usefull and related Instructables
How to Clean your Chain
Old Bike Freewheel Cleaning