I'm going cycle touring in a couple of days and I can hear how gritty my chain is just by gently turning the cranks when the bike is upside down; It's a terrible noise, just like a baby crying or somebody eating biscuits during your favourite film.
The chain is often neglected and with its 270 moving parts it really shouldn't be.
Well, with the right tool it only takes a short time.
After doing it once there is an even quicker way.
Step 1: Remove Your Chain.
You will need this tool; a chain-splitter.
These are available online or in bike shops for around £10.
Step 2: Clean Your Chain.
A solvent is needed to clean the grime off.
I pour a small amount of petrol into a 2 litre bottle, feed in the chain, put on the lid and shake for as long as I can.
Step 3: Oil Your Chain.
Remove the chain from the bottle and wipe thoroughly.
Place in a small container and douse in 3 in 1 oil ( or an expensive specialised chain oil.)
I also spray in a bit of TF2 lubricant or similar because it thins the oil a little and contains Teflon.
The aim is to get the oil in the moving parts of the links.
Shake again and if you have time, leave it to soak for a while.
Step 4: Replace Your Chain.
Wipe your chain clean.
This is not about oil on the outside, that can come off; just like people or sandwiches, it's the inside that counts.
Thread your chain back to how it was originally.
Turn the splitter handle so that is is fully out; place your splitter the opposite way to how you had it before removal and turn clockwise until the rivet is sticking out equally on both sides.
If the link is a little stiff then hold the links on either side and flex them from side to side about 6 times and this will free it.
Step 5: The Quicker Way of Removing a Chain.
These are power links. (they have various different names)
When you split your chain, you can remove that link altogether and replace it with a power link that simply comes a flick of the wrists, no tool needed.