We all love our 2 wheeled friends and many of us ride them because they are a low carbon sustainable form of transport, however there is also a dark side to bicycles – from the raw materials and energy used in their manufacture and transport to the use of petroleum products for cleaning and components like tires. All is not doom and gloom – luckily there are many ways that you can green your ride! This is the first part of our eco-friendly guide to cleaning and caring for your bike.
Getting Rid of Mud and Dirt the Eco friendly way…
WHAT YOU NEED: a bucket, some sponges, eco-friendly cleaning liquid and a hose with control nossel. You can also use recycled bath/shower water.
It is a good idea to clean your bicycle whenever it gets coated in mud and dirt.
- Gently spray off mud with the hose. Do not blast the water sideways at the bike as this can push water into the hubs, pedals and bottom bracket. Always spray water only from above and don’t ever direct it toward greased parts.
- Fill the bucket with warm water and a bit of eco-friendly cleaning liquid (like Clean-It-All by Enchantrix). Use a soft sponge or brushes to remove stubborn dirt.
- Be sure to also remove any dirt that may have become embedded in the brake pads to prevent wearing and scratching of the wheel rims.
- Rinse off the soap by dribbling water from above.
- Dry off parts with a towel, or air dry.
- Relube after washing because wet parts can rust.
- Give your love a quick touch up: For steel frames, you can touch up paint chips immediately to prevent corrosion. Nail polish makes a great alternative if you can’t find a paint to color match.
If your bicycle only needs to have a chain cleaned, use a chain cleaner and fill the container with the eco-friendly cleaning liquid.
Chain care + LUBE
Lube can be applied to the chain and the pivoting metal parts on the brakes and derailleurs to keep them moving smoothly and prevent corrosion. The secret with lube is to apply a little, but often. If you hear a squeaking noise when pedaling, you need lube!
- There are lots of different kinds of lube around, and it is best to choose one that suits the conditions you ride in (biodegradable, solvent- free lube – dry or wet, some are good for both). The best lubes are also biodegradable, solvent- free!
- Many lubes work best when applied to a clean and dry chain, so if necessary brush the dirt off or use a biodegradable degreaser to remove the grit.
- To apply lube, lean the bicycle against a wall, or put it on a stand to keep it stationary.
- Put some paper down under the bike to catch drips.
- Drop the lube onto the top side of the lower section of chain with one hand whilst turning one of the pedals backwards with my other hand to rotate the chain. Always follow the manufacturers instructions as each lube has a different application technique.
- For wet lube, leave it on for a bit and then wipe off the excess with a rag. For dry lube, let it dry completely and do not wipe off the excess.
You can also apply a couple of drops of lube to the pivot points on the derailleurs and brakes – i.e. the point where they move. On side-pull brakes, this would be the bolt that the brakes pivot around. Don’t get any lube on the pads and wipe off any excess.