Five ways to survive spring showers

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Five ways to survive spring showers

Choosing the right clothing, effective maintenance routines, and more


The quick wash and polish

A post-ride washdown is essential to keeping your steed in good working order, even when showers of a different kind are calling after a long, wet ride. While a handwash with buckets (cold and hot water) and sponge is unavoidably time consuming, armed with jet wash and airline, chain bath and degreasant, returning your bike to serviceable, if not pristine condition is a relatively brief task. 

The jet wash can make light work of the grime thrown up by wet roads, but the lance must be wielded with care, and pointed downwards onto the top of the sprockets, away from the bearings

The use of a jet wash does not meet with universal approval, but it is standard equipment in the WorldTour paddock, and for Andy Phillips, mechanic at independent bike shop, Ride, a tool of the trade. Like anything, there is a right and wrong way to wield the lance, Andy says, and advises against pointing it directly at bearings. Having run the chain through a degreaser-filled chain bath, and coated the cassette in degreaser with a paint brush, he points the water jet downwards on to a section of the chain below the chainstay and on to the tops of the sprockets.

Spraying the cassette and even the brake calipers with a water dispersant spray will help drive out moisture before finishing the task of drying with an airline (more of which later). Andy is relaxed about using water dispersant on the pivots of brake calipers, confident that the residue of such a thin substance is easily wiped off should it reach the pads (the exception is cork pads, around which any lubricant of any kind must be applied with caution, he warns).

The airline will further speed proceedings and do a more thorough job than using a towel. It might seem an extravagance, but even the pressure generated from inexpensive units like those sold in motorfactors such as Halfords is sufficient, Andy says. It can also be used to blow grit and debris from intricate components like the front mech.

Finally, a coating of silicone polish on the frameset will help to provide a slippery layer that dirt will have difficulty adhering to. But by now, the shower is calling. If you can’t wait that long to get out of your wet kit and warm up, a swifter, if less comprehensive maintenance routine can be found on the next page…

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