From the Archive

Washing your bike in the bathtub

February 4th, 2012 at 11:58 am ET

I thought it sounded crazy too, but this blog post from Velojoy inspired me to try washing my bike in the bathtub, with hot water and the spray nozzle so I could get at the undercarriage.

My first thought was “that’s a terrible idea, you’ll rust it,” but then again I ride around in rain and salt anyway and it doesn’t rust from ordinary use, so probably washing it down isn’t going to hurt it. And indeed it didn’t. The hot water got almost all the loose salt, sand, and muck off, and made a good dent in the various oily smears in inaccessible places that I usually just assume will stick around indefinitely.

I let it drip dry for a bit, gave it a rough wipedown with an old towel, and then lubed the chain, which I always figured would be a messy process but (thanks to the lesson I got from my local bike shop) basically amounts to letting tiny droplets fall from a nozzle onto the edge of the chain as you slowly rotate the pedals backwards. It took about 90 seconds, and based on how well it rode when I was finished. I apparently did it right.

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