Sweat Can Mess Up Your Bike and Accessories
I don’t know about you, but I’m a sweaty mess when I’m out riding. Okay, I don’t mean to aggravate any of you who are still waiting for the hot and sweaty temperatures to arrive…so my apologies in advance.
If you sweat (and odds are you do…at least a little bit), there are some important things you should do to prevent it from messing up your bike and accessories.
Before getting into what and how it can mess things up, let’s quickly go over what sweat (perspiration) is made up of.
Perspiration consists of water, minerals, lactate and urea. The average mineral composition is:
- sodium (0.9 gram/liter)
- potassium (0.2 g/l)
- calcium (0.015 g/l)
- magnesium (0.0013 g/l)
Sweat can also include trace metals including:
- zinc (0.4 milligrams/liter)
- copper (0.3–0.8 mg/l)
- iron (1 mg/l)
- chromium (0.1 mg/l)
- nickel (0.05 mg/l)
- lead (0.05 mg/l)
It’s the sodium that can cause the most damage to your bike and accessories due to its corrosive power and how it reacts with metals, aluminum, and carbon.
Where does your sweat go when it drips off your body? Down. That means your bike is soaking up a lot of sweat and corrosive materials as you ride along.
Prevention: In order to prevent corrosive issues to your bike, be sure to clean it regularly. If you need some tips on how best to clean your bike, have a listen to our Cycling 360 podcast on Cleaning Your Road Bike.
Note – I can speak from personal experience on this one. I feel like I do a good job at keeping my bike clean, but all that sweating I’ve done in the past has caused my seat post to totally seize up. You don’t even want to hear about how difficult it is to fix something like this.
If your helmet has one of those new magnetic snaps like my Lazer Helium does, then you’re going to want to heed my advice once again. This is the first time I’ve had one of these types of snaps on the chin strap so I never knew what problems could be caused by lack of cleaning.
Just a couple months ago, I was riding along and my chin strap came undone. I tried snapping it back together, but it wouldn’t stay connected. I finally stopped and realized that the one side of the snap that the magnet clings to had been totally corroded away. The snap was shot.
Being in the Caribbean I can’t just go to my local bike shop for a replacement, but I was able to borrow the part I needed from my Wife’s Nutcase helmet…..they have the same closure system as the Lazer.
Thanks to the great people at Nutcase helmets for sending me a free replacement so I could replace the one I stole from my Wife.
Prevention: Wash your helmet and if you have a magnetic snap, rinse and soak both sides of it regularly.
If you’re like me, you’re never caught outside without a pair of sunglasses on your face….especially on the bike. Well, once again this accessory takes on a whole lot of your sweat while out riding.
Okay, so how many of you have had a pair of good sunglass lenses peel away making them un-usable? Yep, happened to me once and I learned my lesson fast. Ever since then I’m sure to rinse my sunglasses following every ride….and never had any issues since.
Prevention: Rinse your sunglasses after every ride.
Of course, sweat can mess up pretty much any of your cycling accessories. but these are the ones that I’ve had issues with in the past. Now it’s your turn, what damage has sweat done to your bike or accessories? Let us know so that we can help others in preventing it from happening to them.
Top photo c/o Franck Fife/ AFP/Getty Images