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Well, I'm going to put up some basic cleaning things and if you have a slick trick be my guest and send it in.

XXX, steel wool that is, works great with wax to polish and clean at the same time. Get the XXX or XXXX extra-extra fine stuff, NOT the Brillo pad under the sink. Try it on a spot and make sure the pad is fine and doesn't scratch anything. I use it on metal, aluminum, wheels, mirrors.

On oily spots that need cleaning, a shot of WD40 cuts the grease. Kerosene or solvent is ok too. For safety reasons and safety reasons alone-never use gasoline: period.

Use a soap made for cars/automotive stuff. Anything else may/will remove the wax and strip the paint. Something called S100(most all bike shops) works really well as a 'all over' cleaner. Well worth the cost as it is safe for the entire bike.

Don't use vinyl polish (Armor stuff) on the seat or tire. A good leather/vinyl cleaner on the saddle is fine, leave the tires alone.

WD-40 does a good job cleaning the chain. With regular use, it's all I've used on my chains for years. Removing the road grit and fine dirt is the key to longevity of chains and sprockets.

Spattered bug guts on the windshield. Wet a towel and let it soak the dried crusty critters*, then wipe it off. Follow with some Plexus or plain old furniture polish like Pledge. Good for the helmet, visor, faces on the gauges too. [*If you use hot water on that towel and let it hang pressed on the shield for a bit the bugs and guts will come off much faster.]

Check with your helmet manufacturer first and see if the glue inside is waterproof. When my helmet starts to get 'ripe' I'll rinse mine off under the sink and use a very mild soap. Air dry or set up a small fan overnight to dry. I've heard of stuffing newspapers inside, wiping it down with a sheet of Bounce. BTW, we are replacing our brain buckets every 3 to 5 years anyway, right?

Time to put on a coat of wax? Read the label. If your paint is in good shape you don't need a 'polish' that 'cleans' (read abrasives). Those bottles are for removing the oxidized paint off your old Ford Escort. (Hey don't laugh, that's what I drive!)  Look for a can or bottle of carnuba. All you need is some wax to protect the finish.

If you have a stash of toothbrushes, Q-tips, new bath towels in your bike cleaning bucket, then disregard the above. You're much better at this than I am.

Final Note: Get in the habit of giving the fork area near the seal a swipe when you park it at home. That fine layer of dust and grit will eventually eat away at the tiny strip of neoprene that holds the oil back inside the forks. Always check the tube for any scratches, dents, nicks, from flying rocks, debris, etc. If you come across a nick take a fine stone like one used for knife sharpening. (maybe Marie will lend you hers). I imagine some of the new fingernail file polishers would work too. Not the coarse, black emery boards, but something used for polishing.

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SPEEDSLUG is a frequent contributor to the Women Riders International (WRI) Forum and has generously allowed us to post his tips at here at

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