How to Clean Your Rain-Soaked Bike

Rinse Cycle

Before taking cover, hose down your bike using low pressure, if it's too high, you could force grit into internal components such as the bottom bracket, hubs, and bearings, or wash away necessary lubricants (There's more, to keep your bike in top shape, avoid these Top Bike-Washing Mistakes). Don't forget wheels, drivetrain, and braking surfaces, parts on which road crud accumulates.

More: 10 Tips for Riding in the Rain

Spin Cycle

Remove your seatpost and turn your bike upside down so water can escape. Even if your frame is carbon, which can't rust, do it to ensure no moisture sits in your bottom bracket. Then take off your wheels. If they have a drain hole, lay them at an angle that lets the water run out of the opening. No drain holes? Deflate your tires and drain water through the valve-stem hole.

Dry Cycle

Move the whole operation out of the rain, then replace your wheels and seatpost. Run a clean, dry towel over your entire bike, getting into all the nooks and crannies. Your final step: Lube the chain (watch Bicycling's video on Cleaning and Lubing a Chain to see how).

More: 6 Safety Tips for Bike Commuters

Your Other Gear

  • Drowned your phone? Drop it into a Bheestie Bag ($20) and seal it shut. The reusable pouch contains water-absorbing beads that draw moisture from small electronics. Resuscitation isn't guaranteed, but it's worth a shot.
  • Hose off your shoes to rinse away any gravel lodged in cleats and closures. Remove insoles and pull up the tongues. Tightly pack each shoe with newspaper. When it soaks through, replace it. Expedite drying time by placing your shoes in front of a fan.
  • Check your seat bag. It probably contains a rust-prone tool and CO2 cartridge. Remove and dry its contents, and leave it unzippered so air can flow through.

Keep it clean: Watch this video for Expert Bike-Washing Tips.

More: Why Bike Lights Are Important—Even in Daylight

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