If there’s one thing a lot of riders are guilty of it’s failing to clean and lubricate the chain as frequently as they should. A dry and unlubricated chain is noisy, causes wear on the drivetrain components and is also prone to rusting, possibly leading to siezed links in the chain, poor gear shifting and even breakage.
In dry summer conditions we recommend cleaning and lubricating the chain once a month at the very least. In wet, winter or off-road conditions we recommend cleaning and lubricating before (or, more acurately, after) every ride, particularly if you’ve just washed the bike down after a ride. Don’t leave it wet and muddy and then remember to lube it before the next ride, the damage may already have been done.
To lubricate your bike chain, wipe the entire length of the chain thoroughly with a rag soaked in degreaser to remove any dust, dirt or debris. Then apply a lubricant to the inner surface of the entire length of the chain. Turn the pedals and shift through all the gears to work the lubricant into the links of the chain and the other parts of the drive train.
In theory you could actually use 3-in-1, engine oil or even cooking oil on your chain but one thing we would advise is that you don’t use WD40 or similar on your bike chain. Although it drives out moisture it also strips out the oil and grease so will ultimately dry out your chain unless you use it every day, whether you ride the bike or not.