By Laurel-Lea Shannon
Cycling gear—everything from shorts and jerseys to gloves and sun glasses—is expensive. The better quality you buy, the more you’ve shelled out for it. Here are some simple steps that you can take to extend the wear of your gear and get the most out of your investment.
When you cycle in the heat, sweat pours off your face and head, your hands and your body. Ever notice that crusty film on your face after a long summer ride? That’s salt— from your sweat. And salt causes corrosion, in everything from cars and backyard grills to the chin strap of your cycling helmet and the chamois in your cycling shorts.
Wash your shorts, jersey, socks, and gloves after every ride. If you can’t wash the clothes immediately, hang them outside to dry, then put them in the laundry hamper. At least then they won’t be left languishing in a damp, smelly (and slowly corroding) heap until the next wash day.
Don’t Re-wear Your Bike Clothes
I still remember a group ride I went on years ago when one of the guys did this. No one cycled near him or down wind from him that day—pee-yew! Even if you’ve only been out for a short ride, don’t be tempted to wear the same bike clothes twice without washing them. The same bacteria that makes them smell bad also wears down the clothes.
Skip the Dryer
The synthetic wicking fabrics that are used in cycling gear don’t fare well in a dryer. The heat can damage the fabrics and the elastic in the waist and legs of your shorts. After washing your cycling clothes, hang them to air dry. Outside is better.
Don’t Forget Your Helmets, Shoes and Glasses
After each ride, open up your shoes and let them air dry.
If the chin strap on your helmet is wet with sweat, wash it by hand with a mild detergent, rinse the straps well, and air dry.
Salt from your sweat will also corrode the frame of your cycling glasses. Clean the lenses and the frame with soap and water after every ride.
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