Hey there cyclists,
I recently took my bike in for a tune up, and the friendly bike shop staff reminded me to clean and oil my chain weekly for ultimate bike performance. The bike chain is the dirtiest part on the bike- collecting grit and grime which is bad for the longevity of the derailleur and shifting performance. My chain was "skipping gears" and I learned that with routine maintenance this could be avoided; in addition to keeping the maintenance costs down on my bike!
Step 1: Materials
- your bike :)
- scrap fabric, like an old towel or socks
- chain lubricant- I use Tri Flow formulated with P.T.E.E. runs around $4 for 2 fluid ounces which is enough for a year!
- old toothbrush if there's a lot of grime in your gears
Step 2: Begin Cleaning
Flip your bike upside down so it's resting on the handlebars and seat, chain facing out.
Take one towel scrap and wipe down your bike, getting close to the break pads, wheels, and any other area that has dirt on it.
After removing all the visible dirt from the frame of your bike, take a new (clean) scrap of fabric and gently hold the chain. Use your other hand to rotate the pedals - having the chain move through your hand. do this for a few rotations - removing all the grit on your chain.
TIP: For wicked buildup in your chain (if you haven't done this in months), use an old toothbrush to get out all the dirt.
Step 3: Add the Lubricant
You're all set now. The chain is nice and clean, so now you'll want to add the lubricant.
Put the lubricant directly on the chain, do not put it directly on the derailleur - as that can lead to more build up on your next ride.
While you're adding drops of lubricant to the chain, use your other hand to move the pedals, rotating the chain. After doing one complete rotation, shift the gears and repeat that process so that the oil is evenly distributed.
NOTE: it's quite possible to over lube the chain- collecting more dirt and grime on your next ride. Make sure you wipe off any excess lubricant after each rotation.
Doing this frequently (say every 100 miles) will keep your bike parts lasting longer!!
Enjoy, and happy cycling :)