Cycling in the rain can be a nuisance for some commuters, but for intrepid riders, this can be fun, exciting and satisfying. As liberating as that might sound, all the fun stops when you get home and realize the real mess you got yourself into. Riding your bike in the rain could potentially cause gear failure over time. But if you are itching to get on a daredevil move through the rain, then here are a few aftercare tips that you need for your bikes to last a lifetime and yourself to get the relaxation you deserve.
Maintenance Tips After Cycling in the Rain
1. Wash Your Bike Immediately
Riding on a wet road can leave you with all kinds of dirt, mud, and grease on places that are hard to clean. It is important to wash it immediately after use and while it is wet, to make washing easier. Mud will cause no harm if cleaned off soon enough. Leaving them on for a while means more work for you to do later. If left unchecked, the mud will lump up on your rear tire and will be collected on your rear derailleur causing it to bend or break. A quick hose down will prevent potential damage on your precious bike. The mud and dirt collected on awkward spaces can be easily squirted off by removing both wheels.
After hosing your bike down from top to bottom, don’t just leave it dripping wet. Towel dry the bike as best as you can. A leaf blower will get the job done quickly, but if you don’t have one available, a clean rag will do the work just as well.
2. Remove Excess Water
Water can cause corrosion and rust. When the metal components of your bike (chains, brakes, derailleurs) become rusty, it can cause a major problem and it will significantly affect the performance of your bike. You want to make sure that after toweling it dry, no excess water has made its way into every cavity of your bike. To do this, spray a good amount of water dispersant on parts of the bike, especially the cables and cable housings, the moving parts of both front and rear gear mechanics, and on the threads and bolt heads.
Remember, it is possible that water will still have found its way into your bike bearings and other parts of the drivetrain no matter how secure you think your bike is. Check the bottom bracket inside your frame and drain out accumulated water by lifting the front end of your bike. Most frames have two small drainage holes. If you find yourself cycling in the rain so much, regularly check these parts to keep the rust at bay.
3. Keep All Moving Parts Lubricated
Among all the parts on your bike, the chain probably gets most of the strain. It is after all your bike’s primary moving part and one that plays one of the most important roles in your bike’s overall performance. Therefore, it is vital that the chain gets more of the love and frequent lubrication. It is also important to only apply lubricants on the moving parts after they have been thoroughly cleaned and dried. This should protect them from wearing fast caused by metal friction.
Remember not to over-lube the chain and drivetrain. This can lead to poor performance and potential damage on your bike’s components as it will attract dirt and other foreign particles. Put only as little as possible ensuring that the lube penetrates the chain links. Excess oil should be carefully wiped off before going out for a ride.
4. Lock Bike in a Clean, Dirt Free Location
Save yourself from any further trouble re-cleaning your bike by storing it in a place where it can be protected from dirt and foreign matters dragged along by the splashes of water in the street. Should you park your bike outdoors, consider the time the weather, and get a reliable bike lock. Do not let it rest too long in the rain as corrosion could occur. If your bike is properly lubricated, it should survive with no harm to gentle rain. That is why frequent cleaning and proper lubrication is your only way to go to protect your bike from corrosion and rust.
5. Give Yourself Some Love
Now, the best and probably the most important step to do after cycling in the rain is to tend to yourself. After what seems like an exhausting yet exciting ride, no one is more deserving of a good treat than yourself. Rid yourself of all the discomfort by rinsing the mud and grime off your clothes before putting them in the washer. Then, go ahead and give yourself a good bath. Warm showers are best after a long ride. After, replace the expended energy by eating a good meal completely guilt free. To maximize recovery, get your hands on something that is both enjoyable and offers the correct balance of nutrients.
And finally, get some rest. Recovery is just as important as exercise. Riding a bike especially on a rainy day can cause serious strains on your legs and body. Do some stretching, or better yet, get some sleep. This is the best way to recover.
Cycling in the rain is rarely every bicyclist’s favorite thing, but it is a scenario that we often find ourselves in. Oftentimes, the rain is unexpected and definitely inevitable. This often gives a rider more task to do at home after than on regular days. Taking these steps might be the last thing you feel like doing, but keeping your bike in good condition will not only give you the experience of a smooth running ride but a safe one as well. Remember, the key to making your bike last a lifetime is maintenance.