Drivetrain gummed up

In bad weather, it’s pretty easy to get too much ice, snow or mud on the drivetrain. This gums up the chain rings and cassette and makes shifting difficult or impossible.

Wipe the majority of mud off the chain rings, rear cassette, derailleur and chain with a rag, leaves, or your hand.

Ice or snow are harder to remove in this way because they tend to turn solid when compressed. The answer to this, and to removing the mud that remains after wiping, is to pee on the affected area.

Yes, pee on it. While this is obviously easier for boys, it’s still possible for girls, especially after laying the bike flat (if you think not, see

Why? There are a couple of reasons. First, pee is relatively easy to direct to the required area. Second, it’s better to use this source of liquid than your fresh water supply, and it means you don’t have to immerse the bike in a stream or pond with all the associated problems. Third, it’s warm so it melts snow and ice, unlike other water sources which typically compound the problem.

While it may not smell particularly wonderful, pee is relatively sterile in healthy people. 95% of urine is water, 2.5% consists of urea and the remaining 2.5% is a mixture of minerals, salt, hormones and enzymes. Being highly alkaline, it also cuts through grease.

It’s unlikely that you will get the chain clean enough to lubricate at this point, but you’ll definitely remember to give it a proper cleaning and re-lubrication when you get home.