Post Winter Bike Cleaning

Post Winter Bike Cleaning

 

Post Winter Bike Cleaning

 

Simon Tuck

 

Honey, I’m just going out to the garage to give my bike a wipe over….

 

I don’t wish to make light of OCD, it can be a very debilitating condition even in its milder forms, but I’m sure some of you can identify with some of my symptoms. Maybe I have actual OCD, or maybe it’s just Obsessive Cleaning Disorder. In my case I tend to put things off because I know if I start a process like bike cleaning it can consume me. I can’t just mop the floors. I have to scrub the toilet and sinks, and walls, and wash the towels and the little mats, and the flannels, and clean the mirrors, and the door handles. My wife thinks I’m lazy, but if I wasn’t sitting on the sofa trying to ignore all the stuff that needs doing then I could quite easily just get stuck in a mad loop of ever increasing circles as each job leads to another.

 

What started as a simple wipe down becomes a full fledged re-build, we've all been there!
What started as a simple wipe down becomes a full fledged re-build, we’ve all been there!

 

If I just give my bike a quick wipe over I can sometimes convince myself that’s enough if I really try hard, but it’s like the boy who put his finger in the hole in the dyke. Other times it’s the start of a day or even several days’ worth of tinkering as the dyke comes crashing down and wreaks turmoil.

 

I tend to do intensive bike cleaning as summer is coming to an end, and then again as the days start to lengthen into spring. At a certain point I’ll order a new cassette and chain, even though I have a chain checker and my chain is nowhere near the first marking. Sometimes I’ll order some new cables; it’s always good to have spares, just in case. Sometimes I’ll make sure I have a new set of tyres ready to go on. Sometimes my brake pads might be getting a bit low. I’ve stopped keeping a bottom bracket ‘in stock’. I realised that they really do last ages and all I need to do is take it out and clean it and regrease the threads and pressure points and tighten it up properly.

 

One day I’ll have a couple of hours free despite having two children, aged 4 and 6. At this point I’ll go out to the garage to do something quick, like check my TCR over before a race, or wipe the commuter over to put on the turbo trainer. I’ll just pop out for five minutes, then I’ll go back in the house several hours later to have a toilet and drink break before I put whatever I had just dismantled back together.

 

Looking squeaky clean after a winter of abuse
Looking squeaky clean after a winter of abuse

 

Today I knew that anytime now some lovely cables and bar tape from Cooke Components new range of Vel Products were due to arrive for a review. After I pumped up the tyres and re-lubed the chain on my already clean TCR, I moved on to the commuter. I put it in the stand and decided it would live on the turbo this week, so it needed cleaning. I took the wheels off, and carefully detached the mudguards. The rear mudguard is getting a bit thin and bendy at the top so I must order some more.

 

An hour or so later I had the brake calipers on my worktable (the rear has been a bit sticky lately), next to the rear derailleur (it’s been a while since I cleaned the jockey wheels out). I also had the cranks on the floor next to the bike, alongside the now lovely and clean bottom bracket. I’d also started removing the cables, cleaned the wheels and the spare wheel I use on the turbo, and put the new cassette on my main wheel, and regreased the headset.

 

When did you last clean your jockey wheels?
When did you last clean your jockey wheels?

 

After lunch I had just put the cranks back on and cleaned and adjusted the forks, steerer and headset. I’d put the new chain on and put the brakes back on and was about to consider an actual session on the turbo, when a courier knocked on the door with a parcel for me containing the cables and bar tape I was expecting. There was no stopping now. I was mid flow.

 

The cables were already half removed. I may as well fit the new ones whilst I’m here. So as I sit here now my commuter is still not on the turbo trainer, but it will ride like new when I put it on there. Oh, I nearly forgot, I was going to pop the seat post out and make sure there’s no water down there from all the rain last week.

 

I’ll be back in a minute……

 

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