Rust in shifter due to sweat: maintenance advice?

I had a problem in my right (rear) STI lever, which seized. My LBS fixed it, fortunately, and they said it was rusted due to sweat (I sweat a lot). They recommended I clean the levers after usage with water. This was after only half a year of TR use.

Has anyone here run into similar problems? What do you do to keep your gear functioning? Are there any other components I should keep an eye out when it comes to damage from sweat or other indoor-training specific issues?

Sweat corrosion on my baby scares me so:

  • Thick towel that covers the the entire handlebar area including the shifters, stem and headset. My hands should never touch the bike directly during a workout.
  • Bike thong from Amazon
  • I place my most powerful fan behind me, facing forward. This keeps the sweat from my legs from splashing back on to my drivetrain. My weaker front fan is placed next to my fork, pointing up at my chest. No air flow directing sweat backwards!
  • Right after my workout, I wipe down my bike and note where any sweat has reached my bike and adjust accordingly.

With my above setup I will have 2 major puddles on the mat, one below each knee, a sweaty saddle and a few drops on my downtube. Everything else is bone dry.

Thanks for the advice. Quick question: If you are not touching the bike, how do you shift? (I own a dumb trainer, so I need to shift often.)

It’s not perfect but I just make sure the towel is large enough so that it drapes deeply between and outside of the shifters. That way I can grip the shifters and press the levers inwards without any tension from the towel getting in the way.

However I have a smart trainer now, so I only shift the front chainring these days.