Resolve to clean your chain a minimum of every other ride.
One of the most costly components of your bike is your cassette. If your Dad is anything like my step dad, you have been cajoled, lectured to, pestered and demo'd the value of having your car's oil changed every 3500 miles. Your bike's cassette is another system--just like your car's engine-- where dirt, grit and grime can wreak havoc on moving parts.
Get yourself an inexpensive, lint-free towel that you can get dirty without fretting whether the spray stain remover can tackle it or not in the washer. Keep it handy, like wherever you store your bike or your riding shoes etc. When you bring your bike in, give your chain a quick wipe down. This quick and simple act will help reduce the dirt on your chain and therefore, your cassette, preserving its condition for longer.
Additionally, about once a month, don't forget to wipe your chain down really well, and then clean it with a mild detergent, such as Simple Green. Allow it to dry, and then be sure to lubricate each link on your chain with a good dry bike oil. After you have treated each link, take a clean, lint-free towel and wipe off excess oil; the oil has soaked into the links where you want it. Removing excess oil from the outside of the links will help prevent the oil from becoming a magnet for grit and dirt on the clean chain you just prepared.
--Just three more days to register for the Fourth Annual Girls Gone Riding All-Women's Bike Ride for just $30. Feb. 18, 2011 in Gilbert, AZ! Register here on the blog through PayPal.