Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Zestfully Clean

Don't ask me why I decided to clean my drive train today.

I mean, it's middle of January, and this is my winter bike (or at least will be, the day I click "Bid" on the right bike on eBay, which will hopefully be soon). In a week, the chain will bristle once again with the sound of grit between the bushings. (That sound always makes me grimace.) But today was an at-home day, with snow and freezing rain keeping me and my wife from even getting up the hill at the end of our road. I'd done all the work I'd brought home from the office, things were all set around the house, and I've been meaning to give the beast a good cleaning for a while now. Winter riding in New England is rough on a bike.

And let's be honest, it's just fun to clean a bike. I mean, really fun -- like being six years old all over again, with the irredeemably filthy hands to prove it. Like I said to Velophoriana, "As a therapist, much of the time you don't know if you're making progress, or even what you're supposed to be making progress on. When you've properly cleaned a bike, it's right there in front of you." Plus, there's the sensory gratification: The smell of the solvent, the feel of the grease and grit on your hands, the bite of the chainrings against your skin when the rag slips. And let's not forget the visual satisfaction of gleaming metal everywhere you look, once you're done. Talking with clients, sitting in meetings and doing paperwork don't engage the senses anything like that, do they?

Of course, now the house smells like we're living inside a giant orange.

We are renting right now, and our apartment has no basement or garage. How do people in tiny city apartments clean their bikes? I guess their houses always smell like a giant citrus fruit, too.


idon'tremembereatingcorn said...

Just cleaned up my bike today too! Couldn't motivate myself to sit on the trainer, so I did the next best thing (cycling-wise anyways) and gave my bike some love. I hope you guys have recovered from you recent sickness.

Velosopher said...

Ah! So your tiny apartment smells like the inside of a citrus fruit, too!!

We're feeling better, overall -- she's still a bit tired, but we're making progress. Thanks!

De.Corday said...

usually I clean my bike at a riding buddy's tiny city apartment. That keeps mine smelling fine.

In all seriousness, though, there is no solution save cleaning the bike in the already questionable hallway.

Velosopher said...


suitcaseofcourage said...

It's a little scary how we're on the same schedule - I just washed my bike too - but I s'pose it's pretty common this time of year. GREAT post! I'd already drafted up a post on my experience, but after reading yours decided to just post a couple pics, a little text and LINK to your post. Happy(?) Winter Riding!

Velosopher said...

Wow, SoC, it's funny how all of us are cleaning our bikes. Sure, winter is dirty, but all in the same week? Great stuff -- and I'm humbled by your link and your compliments!

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