Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Freshening up

As I mentioned yesterday, on my way home from school I ran over a broken safety pin, deflating my rear tire. Cue the sad trombones.

I was too lazy yesterday to change my tube out, mostly because when I attempted to do so on the way home, my hands were immediately covered in black road goo when I removed my rear wheel. I know why my bike is in an eternal state of flux with regard to its cleanliness - I ride in all sorts of conditions. The ones that really do their worst are wet or damp, which just turns my drivetrain into a gucky wreck.

Meaning, in addition to fixing a flat, it is now time to clean my bike. I have some pretty high standards with relation to bike cleanliness, partially because I love my bikes, and partially because I absolutely hate getting that black stripe on the inside of my right leg. Which happens. A lot. It's not a good look.

I have a method when it comes to cleaning my bike, which has been known to include polishing the frame. I always feel a bit pimpadelic rolling down the road on a sparkling clean, shiny bike. On basic cleanups, I do the quick and dirty method - lubricate the chain, wipe the excess out, usually takes a lot of grime with it. Then there is the extended version - washing, scrubbing, degreasing, lubricating. I even swap out which lubricants I use based on where I am and what the weather is doing lately.

While it's not a very glamorous topic, basic maintenance is as important for a bike as it is for a car. Without basic care and maintenance, the nicest bike in the world will turn into a creaky, unreliable rolling wreck waiting to happen. It's not terribly difficult, and I'm happy to go into the topic further later if someone would like me to, but some rags, brushes, degreaser, chain lubricant, and a garden hose will go a long way towards making your bike work better and last longer.

Also, keep it inside. Seriously. In an enclosed space not exposed to the elements. And not near the pool chemicals. They will rust your bike.

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