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GUIDE: Clean & care for your bike – Essential guide to cleaning and lubricating

Keeping your bike clean and well lubricated will ensure it runs smoothly, quietly and correctly and should save you money in the long run by lessening wear and tear on the drivetrain components in particular.

Never is caring for your bike more important than in poor weather and when you’ve ridden through rain or particularly dirty or dusty conditions, but it should become part of your routine all year round. If you leave dirt to build-up on your bike parts can wear out much quicker and other issues can go unnoticed.

If your bike is really dirty or muddy a water hose may help to clear the worst of it before you tackle the rest. For best results we recommend cleaning in a specific order.

Ribble tip from Head Mechanic Mark: “Be careful if you use a high pressure hose and don’t use it close up. Too much pressure can blast grease out of your bearings and push dirt deeper inside.”

1 Clean the drivetrain first with Chain Cleaners and Degreasers

Much stronger than all-purpose bike cleaners, specific chain cleaners and degreasers help shift oil and residue from your drivetrain (chain, chainset, cassette, jockey wheels). They are great for removing heavy build ups but it is best to avoid areas such as bearings and cables.

The chain can be a messy job, so there are self-contained chain cleaners available which you put degreaser in and then clamp onto your chain. Turning the cranks, as though you were pedalling, then passes the chain through the bath, cleaning it as it moves. A rag is then useful to remove the residue by running the chain through it.

Ribble tip from Head Mechanic Mark: “Make it easier to get in all those awkward places by taking out the wheels, washing them separately, and then ideally washing the rest of the bike in a workstand.”

SHOP WORKSTANDS HERE

2 Clean the rest with an All-Purpose Bike Cleaner

All-purpose bike cleaners can be used all over your bike but they are particularly recommended for the frame, wheels and tyres. The strength of these cleaning fluids is not particularly strong so they are not used on the drivetrain. Normal domestic detergents can contain abrasive salts so bike-specific cleaners and degreasers are guaranteed to be kinder and more effective on your bike. In the winter a regular clean will also help prevent corrosion from road salt. We prefer to work from the top of the bike downwards with a sponge or soft brush and then dry off with clean rags.

3 Re-apply Lubrication and Grease

Once the bike is dry, it will need lubricant reapplying to the chain and, over time, areas such as the headset may need re-greasing.
Lubricants
Chain lube is put directly onto the chain, and ensures a smooth and quiet running drivetrain. There are three different types of chain lube to consider:
Wet Lubes – these are a ‘stickier’ lubricant so that they remain on the chain if the weather is bad. Great for bad weather, but the chain will need cleaning more often as they attract dirt.
Dry Lubes – a much thinner lubricant, perfect for when the weather is good. They don’t attract dirt as much, but do get washed off easily if it rains.
All purpose – Can be used in all conditions, but do not particularly excel in any one, hence why there are dry and wet lubes.

Check your bike over after cleaning

When your bike is clean is also the ideal time to check it over for any signs of any significant wear and tear or potential issues.

FOCUS: Getting the edge with the new Garmin 820

GPS technology has made a huge impact on cycling in recent years. What started out initially as basic navigation tools are now used to record all kinds of data about your rides (and with the Edge 820 those of your friends) and is even used to live track the progress of the top pro riders on the road in the biggest races.

Garmin are the undisputed leaders in GPS products for cyclists and the Edge 820 is the latest in the company’s line-up and aimed to keep you more connected than ever on your rides.

edge820-product

As well as the main features such as touchscreen navigation that you’ve come to expect from Garmin products the Edge 820 has new features aimed at keeping you connected with family and other riders out on the road through the GroupTrack feature.

GroupTrack connects your Garmin to your smartphone and allows you to track other riders within a ten mile radius which is useful on a group ride or checking if your friends are out riding as well. The accelerometer feature is designed to detect if you’ve had a crash and can send a message to the emergency services with your location.

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Cycling Weekly magazine tested the Edge 820 in August – “Connectivity-wise, the Garmin Edge 820 is compatible with ANT+ sensors, and has a number of different metrics that will interest those doing serious training and riding with a power meter and a heart rate strap.  Namely it will estimate your VO2 Max and will also advise on how much recovery you should take after a ride.”

The Garmin Edge 820 is also compatible with Garmin’s range of Varia products which mean that you could project your stats onto your sunglasses and use with the Varia rear light and radar which warns you of cars approaching from behind.

“My favourite computer than Garmin has ever produced”

“Out of the box and the unit is very sleek with a smooth glass front and the buttons very well hidden at the bottom and sides of the unit. Aesthetically, this is my favourite computer than Garmin has ever produced,” say Cycling Weekly.

Garmin GroupTrack

GROUPTRACK

If you ride with friends, now you can use GroupTrack to keep an eye on everyone in your pack, even if someone pulls ahead or falls behind. Just glance at your Edge to see the connected riders in your group as dots on the map. If someone stops, their dot becomes a hexagonal stop sign, telling you how long they’ve been stationary. Also, see other riders in your group in list view, where you’ll be able to see their current speeds and how far they are from you. Although the ability to be seen is available to all riders using a LiveTrack-compatible Edge or Forerunner® device, cyclists must be equipped with an Edge 820 or Edge Explore 820 to view others on the map.

Time to upgrade?

Either side of the Edge 820 sit the top of the range Edge 1000 and the Edge 820 Explore which is cheaper but does not have the same performance features.

“A pleasure to use,” Cycling Weekly concluded about the Edge 820 so perhaps it’s time to upgrade your Garmin or enjoy GPS technology for the first time.

See full details of the Garmin Edge 820 here

Features
  • Lightweight and compact with 2.3-inch high-resolution, capacitive touch display that works with gloves and when wet
  • GroupTrack1 feature keeps tabs on everyone in your riding pack
  • Advanced performance monitoring includes VO2 max, recovery advisor, Strava live segments, FTP, performance condition and advanced cycling dynamics2
  • Built-in incident detection3 included; compatible with cycling awareness accessories such as Varia Vision™, Varia™ smart bike lights and rearview radar
  • Bike-specific navigation pre-loaded with Garmin Cycle Map for turn-by-turn navigation


Garmin is a world leader in satellite navigation and GPS technology. Since it was established in 1989 Garmin has been creating pioneering products to appeal to a wide range of customers. These include motorists, motorcyclists, cyclists and fitness enthusiasts, as well as leisure users in the aviation and marine markets. Over the past decade Garmin has been at the forefront of cutting-edge GPS technology and has led the way in setting industry standards. All Garmin units are made to be as user-friendly as possible. With simple operations, logical menus, smart features, and easy-to-follow manuals, each product is built to be intuitive and fun to use. The Edge and Forerunner product range offer all the features you would need maximize your training.

Guide: The Turbo Trainer is your friend – which one should you Buy?

Turbo trainers are convenient training devices that allow you to cycle indoors on your own bike away from the weather. They are great to keep your legs spinning throughout the year but especially in the autumn and winter months. The rear wheel of your bicycle is typically suspended from the unit, and when pedalling the resistance provided replicates the ‘feel’ of being out on the open road.

Why use a turbo?

If you watched Team Sky’s Chris Froome win his third Tour de France you probably could not fail to notice that his post-stage interviews were largely conducted as he warmed down on a ‘wireless’ turbo trainer. Whilst ‘wireless’ turbo trainers are useful for warming up and down before and after races, an ‘indoor’ turbo trainer really earns its keep in the colder months when weather or darkness discourage you from riding outdoors.

By training indoors, perhaps when the roads are icy, or you don’t have time to do a full outdoor training ride, you retain your fitness throughout the year and can also perform set structured training sessions without any interference from the weather or other road users.

Turbo trainer guide

Choosing a trainer: which is best for me?

Your choice will ultimately depend on your budget but factor in the type of sessions or amount of training you plan to do on it. If your training time on the turbo is going to be significant then it’s likely you’ll want to invest in a more sophisticated model. You might need to consider your neighbours and choose a quieter unit or your space to store it may be limited.

Turbo Trainer Guide

What type of turbo trainers are there?

There are many different styles of turbo trainers available to purchase and now an increase in the popularity of new ‘Smart’ trainers which can connect to social training ride programmes such as Zwift and TrainerRoad. The more sophisticated trainers are interactive and can be used with the associated software playing a laptop, television or even a projection screen in front of you. The main choice between the different trainers is the style of the resistance unit which vary in both price and feel.

Got you interested and want to see more?

READ OUR FULL TURBO TRAINER GUIDE HERE

VIEW ALL TRAINERS HERE

Review: Secret Race Informed Essentials for your kit bag

‘STRIP’ are training and race care hygiene and performance products and the brainchild of Tim Lawson who has had over 20 years of experience developing sports products with athletes’ needs at the heart. SECRET – RACE – INFORMED – PRODUCTS or ‘STRIP’ are clearly the kind of ‘secret’ training/racing essentials to have in your kit bag.

Continue reading Review: Secret Race Informed Essentials for your kit bag