Dry and lubricate your chain as soon as you get home
Few tasks are less attractive when returning from a five-hour epic punctuated by heavy showers than cleaning your bike the moment you get home, and if the quick wash and polish described on the previous page seems a step too far with a hot shower calling, then at the very least dry and lubricate the chain.
We’ve mentioned the value of a cheap airline before, and while not everyone is convinced, you need look no further than the WorldTour paddock to see them in frequent use. At around £30 from a motorfactor, an airline is hardly likely to break the bank, either. Blasting moisture from the chain is a highly effective – and swift – method of preventing corrosion, and reducing the time that lies between you and a hot, post-ride shower. In the absence of an airline, a towel will suffice, but it is unlikely to do such a thorough job of removing moisture from the chain rollers.
Once the chain is dry, it’s time to apply a suitable lubricant, but do not be tempted to apply lube to a wet chain – it will emulsify, creating a runny, dirty paste likely to coat the chainstay (a grime soaked chainstay is a sure sign of a chain that is lubricated often and cleaned less frequently, Andy says) rather than protect the drivetrain. Lubricants come in different viscosities (thicknesses) and are typically classified by the type of conditions in which they are intended for use.
A ‘wet’ lube, for example is, unsurprisingly, intended for wet conditions: its ‘heavier’ constitution will make it less easy for rain to wash off, making it an ideal choice for use in heavy showers. Rolling out with a lighter, ‘dry’ lube that could be washed from the chain by a heavy shower after just five miles is likely to make the next 60 miles a dispiriting experience.