Just did 6 miles into the city and back, the most horrible salt and brown slush conditions imaginable. They use Calcium chloride here, (green salt) the stuff is just caustic as hell. (don't get it in your mouth) .
here's what I do to keep the bike clean . (I haven't bothered to put fenders on the "town bikes, I have found I survive okay without them. I do have them on my LD touring bike though) Having to wash my clothes after a ride like today's is not that big of a deal.
Upon coming home...
Remove sandy- slush with a car windshield brush, THEN rinse the bike down with fresh water from the spigot outside (you don't want to drive the slush in to nooks and crannies) Brush the chain and drivetrain off first.
I wrap and tie scrap spandex around anything that has bearings. BB spindle, axles, headsets, pedal spindles. This is an old trick, works great, the sand will cling to the fabric. Brush it away.
Soon, I might tie a larger piece on the top of the front derailleur.
This year I put synthetic clay-type window weatherproofing around the seat post where it enters the frame, and also especially in the slot in the back of the seatpost lug, where sand can enter.
Also at the seams on the BB lugs where there was some rust (scraped away) from the previous owner. On the bike I rode today, there's just primer on there for now, until I can get some rustoleum silver paint.
I also put this weather proofing stuff at the ends of the cable housings to prevent sand from getting into the housings. This works really well. A mixture of motor oil and parrafin (to soften the wax) or beeswax would also work.
I also use an old school "wax cloth" . ( Rag soaked in melted parrafin and motor oil, be careful when making this on the stove. ) I might add some WD-40 to it for extra kick.
The wax cloth also protects chrome really well.
The bike is always brought into the heated space, to dry off in front of a tower fan.
The ancient axiom of running the chain as "dry" as possible (lube only in the rollers) definitely applied today .
Thanks for the informative post! This is really interesting. Can you elaborate on the quote above? Do you wrap the spandex on there while you ride or only to clean it off?
I leave it on there year 'round now. On my main town bike, the bearings have not needed overhaul at all for a couple years. Some nylon stocking is great stuff, as it will dry really fast. But heavier spandex is okay too. Just stretch it and build up layers of wraps, Not a bad idea to tie the knot a couple times and hit it with a drop of crazy glue. Some guys use foam or women's sparkly hair tie thingys from the dollar store. (hipster method) Impregnating it with WD-40 seems to keep the seams of the hubs squeaky clean .