Clean up in the mud

If you ride when it’s muddy, some of that is going to get splattered all over your clothing and, if you’ve driven to the trails, your car’s upholstery.

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It makes sense then, to have a bit of a post-ride clean up, and get rid of as much dirt as possible.

The first step to speed up post-ride cleaning is to wear full waterproofs. They’re not always super-nice against the skin and, you may need to layer up in really cold weather, but you can peel off both top and bottoms and all the dirt goes with them. We’d also advise you to get changed on a portable changing matt/bag. There are several of these listed below, and they’re basically large draw-string bags that you stand on when getting changed out of your wet gear. Once you’ve disrobed, you then pull up the strings and all the wet clobber is in a self-contained easy-to-handle bag that you can just throw in the back of the car without getting everything dirty.

Alternatively, there are several gear bags on the market with a fold-out/removable changing mats like the Showerspass Refuge Waterproof Duffel or Fox Podium Gear bag.

If you decide not to wear full waterproof trousers and stick with shorts, you can clean off any splatter in two ways. First you could try this old XC racer tip — get a washing up bowl, stand in it (yes, that’s right) fill it with some soapy water, which you’ve brought in a bottle, and mop yourself down with a sponge.

The other option is to use baby wipes or rather these huge versions designed for outdoor use. Durt Wipes and Wilderness Wipes are both four times the sizes of regular baby wipes and much thicker too, meaning they’ll get most of the clag off without falling apart. Both are eco-friendly and smell nice, bonus!

Once you’ve arrived back at the ranch, it’s worth giving that dirty kit a hose down before bunging it in the washing machine — this will save on repairs and a scolding from a partner/parent/house-mate. You just need a hose pipe, but to remove the worst mud a mobile pressure washer is dead handy, especially for cleaning footwear and knee pads.

After a wet ride, there’s also some clean-up, but if you plan ahead and follow our simple post-ride steps you won’t make a mountain out of a molehill or take it home with you.

Dirty Kit Bags

Vroom Bag €39.99

At over foot in diameter, the Vroom Bag is twice the size of the Muc-Off Grime Bag. It’s not as well-padded but the vast size means it can easily double as a boot liner or picnic matt. The Rip-Stop Nylon material gets a waterproof lining to keep all the dirt in and the cords are big too, so it’s easier to tighten. Features two mesh stuff pockets for cleaning gear, and it even comes with a carry pouch. The prefect MTB changing matt, currently on sale at the Vroom site.

Muc-Off Grime Bag £29.99

Although this is not as big as the Vroom bag, the Muc Off Grime Bag has a lip round the edge to keep all the dirt and any spills in check. It’s built from a coated polyester and is also thickly padded, so you won’t stub a toe on hard ground when standing in bare feet. Extra-long draw strings allow you to really batten down the hatches. Features twin carry handles for easy transportation and storage.

Fox Transition Duffle £95

Built into the bottom of the Transition Duffle is a square changing matt and expandable wet space. The matt isn’t padded, but it packs away neatly and the compartment will swallow dirty clothes and footwear. Gets a ton of internal organization and waterproof zips stop the dry stuff getting wet. A twin shoulder harness lets you sling it on your back if you have to ride home. A big investment, but the perfect privateer enduro/race bag.

Ion Wet Bag £27.99

Designed initially for surfers, the Ion Wet Bag can easily swallow your dirty MTB outfit, helmet and shoes. It’s less padded than others, so a secondary padded tile may be in order, but you can do it up tight and the waterproof Nylon material keeps a lid on errant dirt. It’s lightweight, easy to keep clean and comes with a leash to hang it up. Typical ION gear – top quality, great value and does what it says on the tin

Showerpass Refuge Waterproof Duffle £145

With three main internal compartments, the Refuge Waterproof Duffle ensures clean and dirty clothes are kept apart. It also has padded storage for delicate electronics and a ton of pockets for all those pre-race gels and potions. You also get removable padding and dividers to customise the storage, a mahoosive fold-out changing matt, and waterproof zips at all the openings to stop water ingress. Pricey but this a heavy-duty trail/race bag.

Clothing care

If you wear Lycra shorts under your waterproof trousers and waterproof jackets then you should wash them after every ride to kill any bacteria that may cause soreness or infections. It’s best to use either non-bio washing powder or a dedicated sports wash, which can help retain the Lycra’s wicking properties.

Waterproof cycling jackets lose their water resistance when you wash then, especially if you use a detergent. This strips off the Durable Water Repellency (DWR) surface treatment, and once the fabric is sodden, it also impairs its breathability. Tech Wash from Nikwax, cleans but also revitalises the DWR, even if you have used a conventional cleaner.

Despite using a dedicated cleaner, the DWR will eventually need renewing. We recommend Nixwax TX Direct Spray-On because you can just boost the DWR where it’s faded the most, like on the shoulders, elbows and knee.