I am not known for the cleanliness of my bikes, the tightness of my tape or the smoothness of my shifts. Years ago I had time for cleaning and tuning. I spent hours in the basement in peaceful solitude being a pretty poor, albeit willing, wrench. Then children arrived (I blame all my shortcomings on those blessed events), and I feel lucky if I get away for a ride, never mind the pursuit of punctilious bike care.
As I am consigned by injury, for the time being, to my suburban service course, I have made some effort to put my small but able stable of bicycles to rights, cleaning, tuning, upgrading, etc., I have single-handedly (pun intended) replaced brake pads and cables, retuned some off-key derailleurs and restored a lustre to tubes that had been sand-blasted only by organic and entropic means.
It feels good to have your bike(s) squared away and in fine fettle. I can understand the allure of the wrenchly arts, even if I realize that I am not, by temperament, cut out for this work.
I am not an aficionado of lubes and degreasers. I tend to use whatever is to hand. Once I threaded a chain with a piece of rough twine soaked in sewing machine oil. There is a reason this technique is not demonstrated in maintenance videos on YouTube, even though it worked pretty well. Windex and furniture polish and toothbrushes and an all-purpose (is there any other kind?) awl, I have used them…ahem…all.
This week’s Group Ride asks, how clean is your bike? Do you maintain on a schedule or as needed? What’s your best maintenance trick? What’s the silliest thing you’ve ever tried in the name of bicycle improvement? Do you look down on people with dirty bikes? Or on people with clean bikes? Or, do you not even bother with it all, but pay someone to do it for you, someone with a clue, no one like me?