Winter Bike Love by the London Bike Kitchen

Wondering how to take care of your bike this Winter?

Here's some inspiration from the London Bike Kitchen mechanics - treat your chain to a bubble bath!

As the leaves wither and fall off the trees and the rain falls from the sky, and the two mix together and make a hazardous slippy mush on every street corner…As the mornings, evenings and afternoons become steadily darker and greyer…Fight the temptation to wither and crawl into a hole until spring. Fight the weather like Mel Gibson in Brave Heart: “You can take my general comfort levels, but you will never take my commute!” That’s what he said right?

Lish (one of our lovely mechanic/teachers) says clean your bike with the seasons, and by great Odin’s beard she’s right! So now’s the time people, show your bike some love! Take it on a nice date, or…

Give it a bubble bath (because that’s a nice thing you can do in your house)

Clean your chain! – In the winter your chain picks up way more gross stuff from the road, grit sticks to the oil on the chain if you have lots of oil, and if you don’t clean it then your chain will rust super fast from the salt on the roads. A dirty chain will wear out much quicker than a clean one. The dirt in your chain makes a paste which is like sand paper, that will also wear out your chain rings and your cassette/freewheel/sprocket! Changing all that is super expensive so…

1) lay down some newspaper

2) turn your bike upside down

3) with a dirty rag and some de-greaser wipe all the nasty black stuff off your chain & chain ring

4) Use a flat screwdriver &/or toothbrush to scrape/brush all the crud out of your cassette/rear mech/sprocket

5) Rinse off the degreaser with warm soapy water (it doesn’t need to be warm but come on it’s winter, you’ve had cold hands all day)

6) Re-lubricate your chain with a generous amount of wet lube (we’re using Pedro’s Synlube at the mo, Paul Tenacious Oil is pretty nice too!)

7) Use a rag to wipe off all the excess lube – this step is super important! Any excess lube will make loads of dirt stick to your chain again! And this is a messy job so the less you need to do it the better!

8) Try having a bubble bath for you and your bike (separately) every couple of weeks in the winter if you ride rain or shine, or less often if you ride less or only when it’s dry.

If your feeling really swanky, or even amorous towards it:

Take it for a spa treatment!


The London Bike Kitchen was funded by the Community Cycling Fund for London in 2012 and was the winner of the Best Community Project Award at the 2013 London Cycling Awards.

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