By Jane Sandwood Cycling is an enjoyable, healthy and eco-friendly activity. It’s a great way to get out into nature, keep fit, or even commute to work the eco way. It can also be a nice family outing and activity if everyone is kitted up with their own bike. Maintaining your bike and keeping it clean is an important part of cycling. Cleaning your bike regularly will prolong its life and mean that it doesn’t need to go into a shop for maintenance or repairs as often. This article will look at eco-friendly ways for you and your whole family to keep your bikes clean and in tip top shape. The waterless method Using eco-friendly cleaning products for your bike is sufficient without needing to bring water into it. It is not actually necessary to use water to clean your bike. Using a waterless cleaning method is good for the environment, and it will mean you avoid getting water into your bearings which can damage components, particularly if you are using a high-pressure cleaner or hose. Keeping the frame clean If your frame is only a little bit dirty, you can use baby wipes or anti bac wipes to clean it. If you have been out mountain biking however, or you haven’t cleaned it for a while and it has picked up a lot of heavy dirt or grease, you should use an eco-friendly and biodegradable spray on cleaner. You should avoid using any petrochemical based cleaners which are overly harsh and bad for the environment. Use an old rag for cleaning and removing excess degreaser You should spray the solution on to an old rag and start wiping the frame from top to bottom. For areas of particularly thick dirt and grease you can spray the cleaner directly onto the bike, leaving about a minute or so for it to work before wiping it down. Avoid getting the solution on to disk brakes and rotors and remember to wipe off the solution completely when you have finished. Cleaning the chain This is essential to take care of your gears and drivetrain, and you should aim to do this every month or two depending on the conditions you cycle in. You will need to use an eco-friendly degreaser for this job. Spray it on to the chain and rag and leave it to soak in for a minute, you then want to back pedal the chain through the rag while it is on the lowest gear, keep changing to a clean section of the rag once the dirt accumulates until the whole chain is clean. Cleaning the cassette To clean the cassette, spray the cleaner on to the cassette and rag, wait for it to soak in, then wedge the rag between the sprockets of the cassette and start to rotate the cassette around which will clean each sprocket as you go. For any hard to reach, solid mud you can use an implement such as a screwdriver to get it out, do the same for the jockey wheels and rear mech, and use a toothbrush with a bit of degreaser to get rid of any dirt that remains. Remember to wipe down all the parts you have cleaned with a dry rag afterwards to ensure that there is no excess degreaser left over.