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CLEANING YOUR TANDEM
Most of us have had a perfect riding day spoiled by an unexpected shower. You know, the drizzly kind of rain that never really seems to wash the road free of oil and sand. Ugggh! And your riding socks and tandem are in a very sorry state following such an adventure.
Having found myself in this dilemma more times than I care to count, I have changed my original method of cleaning considerably. Gone are the days of using Windex, flossing with rags and whatever else one can use to reach the nooks and crannies.
I use a system that proves to be faster, easier and one that will restore that "NEW" bike appearance again.
WHAT YOU NEED
Bucket - regular size
Paint Brushes, a 2" and a 3" (wrap the metal part with electrical tape)
Bottle of Dish Washing Detergent
WD-40 spray can
Skip the first two steps if it is a routine cleaning.
1) REALLY GRIMMY BIKE: Remove the chains. We all use connecting links on our final drive, right?
2) Spray the entire bike down with WD-40.
3) Rinse off the bike using a garden hose. DO NOT use a nozzle directed at the bearings of the Bottom Brackets, Hubs or Headset! This step will remove most of the sand, dirt and grit and help eliminate scratches from using rags and brushes.
4) Saturate the entire drive train with WD-40 again.
5) Squirt some detergent directly on the 2" brush and the cassette.
6) Scrub the cassette and the rest of the drive train with the 2" brush adding water and soap as needed from the bucket. Rinse with the hose. Repeat as needed until all grit and accumulation has been removed.
7) Empty and rinse the bucket and add 1" of water and a liberal squirt of detergent.
8) Using the 3" non-drive train brush, scrub the entire bike, hubs, spokes, rims, tires, frame, fork, brakes... ...you get the picture and rinse.
9) Dry the bike with your favorite soft scratch free rag or towel.
10) Finally, wax the bike.
11) Replace the chains if needed. Or... ...clean them after verifying that they are within tolerance via a chain checker.
A. If they are really gritty from rain, clean them by soaking and scrubbing in your favorite non volatile cleaner. If you leave the grit in the chain, it will be ruined in one more ride if it is not already. Some say to never wash out a chain which is what I also recommend unless it gets full of sand and grit!
B. A routine cleaning can be done by simply spraying WD-40 on a rag and wiping the chain off while grasping the chain with one hand and pedaling the cranks backwards with the other. Watch you don't get your fingers near the cogs as you do this!
12) Reinstall the chains and lubricate with a good quality chain lube if reusing the old one. DO NOT use WD-40 for a chain lubricant! If you are using a new chain, clean off the packing grease by using WD-40 sprayed on a rag and pedaling backwards.
Your bike should look new again, including all the nooks and crannies!