Whether you live in the high desert or down here in the south with humidity so thick you need gills to breathe, you’ve probably noticed that you are finishing your rides with your clothes a little more damp than you started. ‘Tis the season for sweat! It’s easy enough to throw those smelly clothes into the wash, but what about your poor bicycle?
Wash and Lubricate
Our sweat is made of water and salt, which can be very corrosive to the metal and composites that make up the majority of our bicycles. Steel components such as chains, cassettes, and exposed shifter cables are very susceptible to damage from our sweat. Keeping these moving parts clean and lubricated is paramount to a properly functioning bicycle. While over-washing your bike can lead to early wear of components like bearings and bushings, it is crucial to keeping you pedaling. Head on over to www.parktool.com for some expert tips and advice for keeping your steed pristine. After that, pedal over to your favorite local bike shop to pick up the necessary cleaners and lubricants.
Inevitable Sweat Damage
Some parts will need replacing because of their exposure to sweat. Bar tape, grips, and saddles are commonly the first to break down. Replacing bar tape or grips annually is a good thing to do when you take your bike in for that annual tune-up. Keep an eye on your saddle for signs of cracking and wear that might cause damage and discomfort. Finishing a ride with a broken saddle is a great way to spoil a great day.
Don't Forget the Trainer
Sweat doesn't stop when summer ends. For those of us that bring the ride inside on the trainer for the winter, corrosion from sweat can be a real issue. When there is no relative wind to evaporate our sweat, our bikes are the ones who suffer the most. Try to keep a fan pointed at you while you ride. Covering your handlebars with a small towel and keeping your drivetrain properly cleaned and lubricated will add smiles for miles.
Socks That Can Take the Heat
Now that your bike is free from perspiration, let's focus on the rest of our gear that gets sweaty. Helmets are weakened from sweat and harmful UV rays from the sun. Rinsing your helmet after each ride can keep your cranium carefree by providing the maximum protection possible. Occasionally washing your shoes will also prolong their useful life and keep your feet happy. Speaking of happy feet, make sure you check out the amazing socks by DeFeet. My personal go-to sock for the sweaty summer season is the Cyclismo Wool Blend. The wool blend helps to control the moisture as well as the smell. Your riding buddies will appreciate it.
Kurt the Mechanic