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Saturday, May 04, 2013

Clean Body, Clean Mind, Take Yer Pick

My friend Joel suggested to me that I maybe should clean my bike a bit. It wasn't the first thing that came to mind for me, I'm generally the guy who won't wash his car because God will do that next time it rains.

But riding in the rain, your bike gets nasty. Really nasty if you don't have fenders, which I do of course. But even with fenders, a lot of grime happens especially on the wheel rims and the drive train.

Besides being a good friend, Joel is a bike mechanic. He pointed out that the grit on my rims would wear my rims out faster as my brakes ground that stuff in. And in my case, my rims are Mavic 719s, not expensive by the carbon fiber race bike standard, but far from cheap. Eventually they'll wear out and those DT Swiss spokes will start to fail and I'll have to lace a new rim to the Phil hub at the center. The Phil component is truly top drawer and it will probably survive half a dozen rims or more, but it would be foolish to hurry up to have to have this whole wheel rebuilt. Part of what I spent a little extra for was, after all, durability.

My drivetrain is much more pedestrian because I built my bike with an eight speed cassette. I only use three or four of them anyway, so there doesn't seem to be a good reason to 'upgrade' to a nine or ten speed in back. That said, I go through chains and cassettes way faster than anyone I know. I'm really proud right now to have gotten 1300 miles out of a chain and around 1500 on the cassette I'm riding though I kind of cheat at that one because I avoid the smallest gear these days—it skips.

But that chain and cassette is the other area Joel pointed out really suffered when I got it dirty and just rode it dirty. So when I made my way home through the unseasonably cold May rain, I picked up a bottle of Simple Green (a cleanser Joel recommended) and I hung my bike up and got busy de-grunging it.

My before and after pics aren't great, especially the after because after the work I put in I figure the bike should look showroom new, but it doesn't. I guess maybe it just doesn't look neglected now.

Corinna said every time you clean your bike you find something broken. By which she meant a crack in the frame or something like that. What I found was my back brake pads are well past the warning line. Riding to St. Louis in a couple of weeks, I better get some pads, eh?

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