A inexpensive way to keep you bike clean, especially when you are away from home is to invest in a garden (hand pump) sprayer tank to keep you bike clean and easy to maintain after each use. Just like rinsing your dishes after a meal, rinsing your bike after a ride, with a low pressure garden sprayer saves a a lot of elbow-grease when you do your routine cleaning. Plus, you will have less of a mess in your car when hauling, in storage, and it’s easier to inspect and work on keeping it clean.
I have found these garden sprayers work nice for both mountain biking and road riding. It’s great to have a portable water source along to rinse off the bike, along with a couple towels to dry off your bike when you are done. If you know it’s going to be muddy or rain is in the forcast, a small pail, a brush and some detergent might be wise to have along. Also, for the final rinse, the wands can be adjusted for the best spray pattern to help protect your gear.
Once clean, wipe down your bike and inspect the tires. Here, look for sidewall cuts or tread wear. Signs that it’s time for a new tire. When wiping around the brakes and derailleurs, check the cables to see if there is any fraying or rusting. And look at the cable housing for cracking, a sign that it should be checked and possibly replaced. After finishing the job of drying and inspecting your bike apply a spritz of lube to the chain, derailleur and brake pivots. Then, when you get home you will be ready to store it away for your next adventure.
You can find a one or two gallon poly hand tank sprayer at most box store-garden centers starting at around $15.
Use care when using any spray device or a garden hose to rinse off your bike. These garden tank sprayers are ideal, normally ranging from 35 to 50 PSI (pounds per square inch). Where, using a power washer that generally puts out more than 1,200 PSI, may cause damage to sensitive bearing, seals and decals on your bike. With most of the low pressure tank sprayers on the market the PSI here shouldn’t be an issue, but check the manufactures rating to be safe.