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Leland’s Guide to Post-Cruise Bike Care

Instead of renting a bike, most of you brought your own bikes. If your bike is still packed, opening the case NOW is a good first step.

As soon as you (or your trusted mechanic) have an hour to spare, your bike should be unpacked and reassembled—before washing it to remove salt and grime.

If you follow these instructions provided by Leland (a professional racer who maintains three fleets of rental bikes for Santana and the bike shops near his summer and winter homes in Colorado and Hawaii), your bike will be road-ready again in no time.

During reassembly lightly grease any bolt threads. If possible, drip some light oil on the parts of the cables that will be covered by the housing. Wipe off any surfaces that will be covered after assembly.

Rinse the bike with a low pressure spray (high pressure can push water into sealed bearings). Make a bucket of dish soap suds with warm water and use a rag to apply all over the bike, being sure to get suds in all the crevices of the brakes and drivetrain. After a few minutes of “marinating,” rinse off, being sure to thoroughly rinse the brakes. If your drivetrain is still greasy, spray it with a degreaser, then after marinating, wash again with soap.

Dry it quickly and thoroughly by bouncing, spinning, and putting in the sun or a warm dry place. Lube the chain and clipless pedal pivots. You can also drip a little oil in the derailleur and brake pivots. Although WD-40 is a substandard lubricant, it contains an effective rust-neutralizing acid that will diminish rust spots found on bolt heads.

After you’ve taken time to find and treat rust with WD-40, use a real bike lube (TriFlow is Bill’s favorite) to oil cable entry spots, derailleurs and brake calipers. Because overspray is an enemy of braking (and may cause you to need to buy new disc brake pads), pro mechanics use a plastic dripper bottle instead of a metal spray can. If you are careful AND haven’t lost the clear plastic applicator tube, carefully applying oil from a spray can is OK. If you’ve lost the clear plastic tube, apply spray lube via a lube-dampened rag (which is a fast and efficient way to simultaneously oil and clean a chain).