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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 10-29-06, 07:17 AM   #1
DoB
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Washing bikes in winter?

It's been really rainy this month. I usually take 15 minutes on the weekend to wash the commuter and apply some lubrication after a week when I ride in the rain.

Looking ahead to the winter months, it seems like a washing routine should be more important because our roads here are covered in highly corrosive salt from the first snows until the spring rains come. The problem is I always turn off the water to my outside hose bibs. drain and roll the hoses and put them away for winter.

Do any winter commuters have good ways of washing road salt off in the winter? Do you just have at it with a bucket of warm water and do your best?

For sure, my salty and slushy bike is not coming in the house.
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Old 10-29-06, 07:23 AM   #2
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I see you live in Detroit. The best way to wash your bike in winter is to bring it into the basement, let all the ice and slush melt off, and then wash/dry it inside the house. If you don't have a basement, use warm (not hot) water and soap. You can rinse with buckets of warm water. Only do this when temperatures are above about 28 degrees F. At lower temperatures, I find that the water freezes fast on the bike which is not good.

Avoid going to the car-wash like some folks might suggest. The high pressure water spray gets water where it should not go in a bicycle.
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Old 10-29-06, 10:07 AM   #3
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DoB -- I've been having the same thoughts about my commuter. Last year I wore out a rear rim prematurely because of all the grime abrading the rim. Since I store my bike in a shed outside I'll have to use the bucket approach. I think I'm going to put some sort of rack on the side of the shed so I can hang the bike up, rinse it off and then spin the cranks and wheels to finish cleaning and get rid of much of the water as possible. I guess I won't know if it works until winter gets here for real.
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Old 10-29-06, 01:29 PM   #4
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I have this huge 2 gallon, plastic watering can that can let water out either in a shower or pouring in a stream. We use it for rinsing our bikes in my house, as well as watering my 80+ houseplants.

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Old 10-29-06, 02:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donnamb
I have this huge 2 gallon, plastic watering can that can let water out either in a shower or pouring in a stream. We use it for rinsing our bikes in my house, as well as watering my 80+ houseplants.

That sounds perfect! I want one.
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Old 10-30-06, 04:32 PM   #6
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I use the car washes. I just don't pull trigger and get high pressure going. Just looking for a fresh water rinse of accumulated grime, salt and old oils. It's 1/2 a block from my house. I think I get excellent mileage out of all my parts. And have no problems with frozen water either. My garage is not heated and is barely above freezing during winter. The warm/cold cycles are bad for any metal parts.
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Old 10-30-06, 04:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike
Avoid going to the car-wash like some folks might suggest. The high pressure water spray gets water where it should not go in a bicycle.
I strongly agree. Actually, even a mere household garden hose can wreak havoc on your rear hub and bb - i know because i've done it!

Water can easily get into most rear hubs since its seals are not watertight on the drive side. A few rides after blasting off your cassette and you've got a rear hub full of an acidic, emulsified water-oil mix that will corrode the bearings, cup and cone surfaces.

IMO, the best way to clean a bike is with a bucket of water and a small rag or sponge - or you bare hand. This gets rid of the hose and prevents the impulsive temptation to just "blast it off". Bare hand cleaning helps to keep from scratching paintjob. I find an old milk jug works good for dispensing water.

If your bike doesn't get very dirty, its even better to just clean with damp paper towels.

Also, a bike stand that lets you elevate the bike to eye level while you work is a huge plus.

Last edited by seeker333; 10-30-06 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 10-30-06, 06:02 PM   #8
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Well, if it rains on the way into work, I normally just stop off at the beach park 2 blocks from work and rinse all the grime off the bicycle at one of the beach showers.
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Old 10-30-06, 07:39 PM   #9
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I wash with hot water outside, allow to partly dry, then park indoors to de-ice and dry anything that froze outside before it evaporated.

Generally if there is mostly slush on it, just pouring a big bucket of hot water over the bike gets it cleaner than a lengthy scrubbing in the summer.
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Old 10-30-06, 09:29 PM   #10
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Just bring it into the shower with you at work or the gym (and don't hold me responsible if you get fired or told not to come back)
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Old 10-31-06, 12:07 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by mike
That sounds perfect! I want one.
I got mine at Target about 2 years ago, but I don't know if they still carry that type.
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