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Lubrication of Your Bicycle Chain

Much like a car will need its oil changed regularly, a bicycle needs to have its chain lubricated. This will make your bike run much more smoothly and it will make the drive train last longer.

How frequently should I oil my chain?

Inspect your chain before every ride. If the chain is not shiny, wipe your chain between two fingers so that some of the oil comes off. Wipe these two fingers together. If  it feels dry when rubbing your fingers together it is time to add more lube your chain.

It is highly recommended that you lube your chain immediately after a wet or muddy ride to prevent corrosion.

How do I lube my chain?

The easiest way to lube your chain is to shift into a middle cog at the rear of the bike, have someone hold your bike up, pedal backwards (slowly) with your right hand, and apply the lube with your left hand onto the chain above your cogs. Pedal backwards at least twice while applying a thin layer of lube.

If your chain has picked up a lot of gunk, lube your chain, take a paper towel and wipe down the chain and relube it. If the chain is still full of filth and muck, repeat the process.  Dispose of the paper towel responsibly.

If your chain has a tar like layer on that cannot be wiped off, we recommend removing your chain and cleaning it with solvent.  Cycle Path sells several environmentally friendly solvents.  We can also remove and flush your chain for under $10

Is WD-40 a good lube for my bike?

Yes and no….WD-40 is a solvent as well as a lubricant.  If you use WD-40, make sure you apply it to your chain every time that you ride.  The WD-40 that you put in your chain last time will be gone due to evaporation.  Oil, Parafin and Teflon bases lubricants will last longer.

What can I do if I notice that my bike chain squeaks on a ride and I don’t have any oil?

In a pinch the trash can at a gas station can be a source of chain lube.  Motor oil containers are never completely empty and you can always drip some onto an annoyingly squeaky chain.  Your bike will thank you and so will your riding partners.

Questions or Comments Welcome


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