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Bike Wash to Go

During the winter, my bike takes a beating with all the salt and road grime. Add the sand from riding along the lakefront and it doesn't take long for the bike to get filthy. Just as with cars, all of the grime is corrosive and on a bike it reduces the performance of brakes and other components such as the chain. Not to mention that you get dirty just by brushing against the bike.

Fortunately, there's a easy solution for this problem - washing the bike. And Turin Bicycle in Ravenwood has a very creative and effective set up for cleaning a bicycle.

Bike Wash in Action

Service Manager Jon Londres who has been with Turin Bicycle for 14 years explained the bike wash service while cleaning my bike. In many situations, the process takes about an hour and the shop has a counter for you to hang-out and watch your bike being serviced. If you want a drink or treat, the coffee shop next door, The Perfect Cup, serves up lots of delicious treats.

The service cost $25 and the shop includes a check-over, bike wash, and lubrication of parts. The wash actually starts with an assessment of the bike.

Jon brought the ethos of a craftsman to the effort, He carefully inspected the bike and patiently explained areas of the bike that needed attention including the chain, front hub and rear wheel. At the time, I elected to proceed forward with just the wash and defer these maintenance issues until after the weather improves.

Bike frame in the wash

The shop contains a space specifically built for bike washing. It includes access to hot water, hose for applying the water, a tile wall and basin for collecting the drainage, various sized brushes for cleaning the bike, a custom-built apparatus for holding the bike frame, and space to hang bicycle wheels for drying.

It's clear that the team at Turin Bicycle thought carefully about the logistics of washing a bicycle and invested in the proper facilities.

Custom-built jig holds the bike in place


Just how dirty can a bike become? One that is used daily for bike commuting takes a beating. The photos below show how the various parts of the bike become covered in salt and grime. Jon recommends that a rider washes a bike quarterly especially if you are riding in the winter since the bike is open and exposed to the elements.

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