Riding In The Rain: Cleaning Your Bike For New Riders

Have you ever been caught in the rain on a bike ride?

If you are starting a bicycle journey, it will inevitably happen. We all know that the weather reports are not always accurate!

Will riding in the rain damage your bicycle?

Well, I found out that it actually can cause damage to your bike. However, taking time to clean your bike after the ride can help prevent this from happening.

I was actually caught in the rain recently. After the ride I changed my clothes and got all warm and dry.  Then went to work. 

I thought that was all I needed to worry about. 

But after talking to a few seasoned riders about my first wet ride, I learned that I missed a very important step. 

While exchanging rainy ride experiences, someone made a statement about cleaning my bike after the ride. 

My first thought was, is that really a thing?  Is it important to clean my bike after I ride it in the rain?

It turns out that this is a very important step, if you don’t want to damage your bike.    

After getting a little advice on how to clean my bike and doing a little research, I was able to figure out the best way to care for my bike after a rainy ride. 

The best part is that it can only takes about 10-15 minutes to get it done.

I was so glad that I found this out early in my riding journey so that my bike lasts a lot longer. I can also keep my bike safer for future rides.      

How Does Riding In The Rain Damage Your Bike

Riding in the rain can actually take a big toll on your bicycle. If you don’t take care of it properly. 

It can actually cause issues with the functionality of the bike. Not to mention costing you more money to replace parts sooner than expected.

The rainwater itself can be damaging to your bicycle.  Then there is the mud, grease and debris that will for sure get kicked up on you and your bike as you’re riding. 

This doesn’t just make your bicycle dirty. 

It can also cause some parts of the bike to rust if left untreated. 

The dirt and grime can also get caught between the rims and brakes and cause them to rub like sandpaper.  This can be very abrasive to your rims.   It can also cause damage to your brake pads.  

So, cleaning your bike after a rainy ride is extremely important in order to keep your bike safe and functioning in good condition for a long time.

5 Things You Should Do Immediately After Riding In The Rain

1. Hose Down Your Bike

You will want to hose down your bike immediately when you return from your ride. This will prevent the mud, grime and grease from drying. 

Once the mud, grease and grime dry it will be much harder to remove. 

If for some reason you don’t have access to a hose, you will want to get some spray cleaner or soapy water and wash it down. Then rinse and dry the bike.

Do NOT use a pressure hose to clean your bike this could damage it. 

2. Give The Chain Some TLC

To care for the chain, you can either stand the bike upright on the ground or elevate the back tire.

I was encouraged to elevate the bike. Which did make it a little easier. 

Begin by wiping off the chain ring on the inside and outside.

Then take a cloth and place it around the chain firmly.  You can also use degreaser on the chain. 

Cleaning chain

Move the pedals so that the chain will move around while drying/cleaning so that you can get to the entire chain.   

After you have clean and dried the chain apply some oil to each chain link so that it does not dry out. 

Let it sit while you clean and dry the rest of the bike.  Or if you prefer you can leave it overnight.

After you are finished cleaning and drying the rest of the bike, or the next morning, wipe away any excess oil.

3. Clean The Cogset Or Cluster

These are located in the middle of the back tire.   

cleaning cogset

It is very important to dry them.  If you don’t rust can form pretty quickly. 

Begin by taking a cloth and placing it between the cogs.   

Move the cloth up and down or back and forth to get in between them good. Do this with each row of the cluster.

4. Clean The Tires And Brakes

When the rim and brakes get dirty from mud, dirt and grime they will start to make a metal-on-metal sound. 

So, you will need to clean them to stop this from happening.

With your bike elevated, begin by spinning the tire to clean and dry it. 

Check for any damage to the tires.  Sometimes the rain can move around debris that can get under your tires and cause punctures or tears.   

Riding in the rain

Next clean the rim of the tires. You may want to try some rubbing alcohol or degreaser to get all of the dirt, grease and grime. 

You will also want to wipe around the spokes of the tire.

Don’t forget to clean the brake pads and the area in between the rim and brake pad. 

5. Get Out Of Your Wet Cloths

Some people prefer to do this first while others wait until they have the bike clean and dry. 

It really shouldn’t matter if you are only changing into some dry clothes. 

However, if you are planning to shower, drink some hot coffee and watch some television first that may be a bad idea.

This will only give the mud, grease and grime time to sit causing your cleaning job to be more difficult.  

Be sure to rinse off your clothes, shoes and helmet that you wore while riding. 

There is no doubt that the mud and grime was also kicked up onto your clothes and shoes.  You can just hose them down while you are cleaning your bike.

You don’t want the mud and grease to sit on your cloths in a pile somewhere waiting for wash day. Nor do you want to put them in the washing machine to mess your machine up. 

Be sure to put your shoes and helmet in an area where they will dry good. You don’t want them to still be wet for your next ride. That would not be very comfortable!  


It should only take 10 – 15 minutes to clean and dry your bike.  So just plan it into your ride time. 

It is so important that you do this to help with the life expectancy of your bike and for the bike to function properly.  

The order in which you clean your bike is definitely not written in stone. I have talked with a few people and what I have found is that they all do their cleaning steps in a different order.

However, the one thing that has been consistent is that they all say to clean and dry your bike immediately after riding it in the rain.

Be sure to also keep up with routine maintenance on your bike.  We all want a safe and smooth ride. 

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