Well then, cleaning the bike was fairly straightforward, if a bit labour intensive. Like any bike cleanup, it consisted mainly of degreasing everything, giving the frame a wash and then re-lubing everything properly when reassmbling, only more so, since this bike had at least 20 years’ worth of gungy oily crap to remove :-)

Now, you can use expensive proprietary cleaners for this job, but to be honest, I find ordinary washing-up liquid to be as good as anything, although if you are particularly worried about the finish of your paint job, use an ordinary car wash liquid.

For really stubborn grease, some white spirit and an old toothbrush does a great job, especially on fiddly bits like the cogs. The main chain ring came up particularly well - I hadn’t even realised it was aluminium until I’d cleaned the old black grease off it… White spirit is also great for getting rid of decades’ of old grease on bearings. I put the headset bearings in a jam jar with some white spirit and shook them until they were clean.

The next job was getting rid of surface rust, this again is a simple job, just a bit time consuming. The best thing to do is to scrunch up some aluminium foil and get rubbing - the rust will come off in no time. This doesn’t work so well on aluminium or alloy areas like the wheel rims, in those cases, a green nylon scrubbing pad and some brasso will do very nicely.

Then your wheels will go from this:

rusty wheel

to this:

shiny rim closeup

As you can see, my wheels turned out to be Rigida Super Chromix rims, which aren’t anything special but look nice.