The Clean Up

After the fun of cycling through sea water comes the day of pain, using the colour orange.   Actually, I woke up and looked out of the window expecting to see the frost and ice promised by the computer weather forecast or indeed the massive snow drifts that were possible.  Instead, I was treated with a January sunny day complete with blue sky and no wind.   Some would say a perfect day for a bike ride, instead of the previous day’s ride through the cold wind and rain (and sea water).   Maybe instead then, a perfect day to clean a bike.

Yesterday’s treatment of a bucket of fresh water and leaving it out in the rain had paid off with not a great deal of rust in site.   The only place showing was the chain and this was to be more than expected as it had “dry lube” applied to it which means it would had been more than washed off on the ride.

I treated myself (with the help of Christmas money left over) to a chain cleaner, a big bottle of degreaser and one of those funny bike cleaning brushes.  The chain cleaner was a bit exciting, probably rather gimmicky but fun looking all the same, it looked like one of those children’s toy cars or trains which are all clear plastic with colourful cogs inside that turn as you push it.  No colourful cogs this time but still fantastic to watch as the chain passes through, or from the YouTube videos I’ve seen it looks good.   I was interested as on YouTube they put a chain cleaner on a pretty clean chain, whizz the chain around a bit and, as if by magic, the chain comes out cleaner.   It is the fact that they start with a pretty clean chain in the first place that has worried me as it doesn’t tell you how well it works on a proper dirty chain.  They say in the video, “here, look at my dirty chain” and all I can see is something silver and shiny!

I gave it a try, it was a bit fiddly and not quite as easy as they made out.   It didn’t do a bad job, although my chain was hardly the dirtiest, just wait until I try it on the bike I ride to work on each day (that’s for another time).   I don’t think I used enough degreaser as I think it could had done better, but I finished it off with the stiff brush on the funny bike brush thing.

After a morning of rain and floods
After a morning of rain and floods
Covered in degreaser after the chain cleaning machine from Toys 'R Us
Covered in degreaser after the chain cleaning machine from Toys ‘R Us

I cleaned, polished, re-oiled – everything is now sparkly once again and maybe I’m back to thinking the bike won’t go out in the rain….   I applied the self cleaning dry lube to the chain, wiped off the excess, let it to dry and stiffen a bit and then wiped the back of my hand along the chain.  Hardly a mark.

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Let us not fool ourselves, after the honeymoon period I won’t be doing this all the time (2-3 hours I was in the shed) but I want to try out at least the dry lube for as long as possible.  No more black oily chains, as long as I reapply each day maybe.  It says it is self cleaning….

As it was getting dark I fitted the bike computer, just a cheap one from Wilkinsons.  I have the same one on my other bike and apart from not liking the wet (a possible design flaw!) too much it seems to record what’s going on to a suitable degree.   It’s nice to know how fast you are going, not so much that you become a slave to it but more to give you reassurance that you might just arrive at your destination if you continue the speed you are doing.

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