Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Cleaning



I am back to bloggerdom, I have Spring Fever and I have reinstated my unhealthy obsession with websites like velospace.org and http://newyork.craigslist.org/brk/bik/ (enter: Nitto riser, no luck so far...).

In an effort to reclaim my bicycle fanatic status, and in keeping with all things "Spring," I cleaned my bicycle this weekend. This was a poor idea on many levels, namely (1) I wasn't quite sure what I was doing (2) it was 30 degrees out - a brisk and unpleasant change from last weekend's 65.

One good thing about fixies is: there isn't too much you can mess up. I can take off the wheel and the chain without doing do much damage, and that is reassuring. Before I decided to clean my bicycle, I referenced the website of the bicycle encyclopedia man, Mr. Sheldon Brown. Unfortunately, his chain cleaning instructions called for a can of Coca-Cola, but I'm more of a Dr. Pepper kind of gal. With that said, I did what any self-respecting young woman would do: I visited TeamEstrogen.com.

TeamEstrogen was much more encouraging, complete with discolored photos from the '80s, featuring dish towels and products called, remarkably, "Clean." I noticed the toilet bowl brush they pictured but steered away from using anything that had previously scrubbed the... tub. As a rag I used a black pair of embarrassing Capri pants I was forced to buy at CVS on the way to the gym when I forgot my gym shorts again. They were kind of too big around the waist so I folded them over a thousand times and they were still too baggy in the crotch, but... I digress. I also used a brand new bottle of Simple Green, a bucket that seconds as my bedroom trash can, a Tupperware that became the official chain degreasing machine, and two old toothbrushes. I began scrubbing my BMX grips (I think the dirt is forever stuck in all the ridges). Next I set to work trying to get my back wheel off so I could unhook the chain. This proved a lot harder than I had previously thought - especially because I was using a .99 cent wrench I had just bought at the dollar store.

I was huffing and puffing trying to put all my weight on this nut, when this old (homeless? dude saw me and probably felt bad for me so he offered his assistance. He seemed to know what he was doing but when he tightened the wrench and brought his whole foot down on it (kind of kicking it) I couldn't stop myself from yelping: careful! He didn't seem fazed. He got one side loose and but couldn't get the other side off. He left and told me "I'll be back in awhile." This was interesting, considering I hadn't anticipated a team effort, but sure enough he came back within 5 minutes with a bigger, stronger wrench. He secured the wrench and kicked (wince) it down until the bolt came loose. Yay! When I tried to thank him profusely he just said, "We help each other darling."

I set about diligently scrubbing with toothbrushes, but my fingers got so cold I that I had to take breaks, one of which involved me jumping up and down and running water over my frozen hands in the sink. I scrubbed off the dirt as much as I could from the chain with my toothbrush and scrubber sponge, and I wiped Simple Green over the whole bike. I found that the scrubber sponge worked a lot better than a toothbrush on my chain--the toothbrush seemed to be just spreading the grease and dirt around instead of wiping it off.

In my heated living room I scrubbed down the rims and spokes, and I used Q-tips to get behind the cog and under my brake. I tried to clean as much as I could without taking it apart and I think it turned out pretty well (excuse poor flash photography). Now it just needs to stop raining.


Notes for next time:

1) Wait until it's at least 60 degrees outside
2) Get a wrench that costs more than .99 cents/doesn't strip the track nut when the homeless? man jumps on it
3) Use brushes bigger than a toothbrush

2 comments:

  1. 看看blog調整心情,又要來繼續工作,大家加油........................................

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  2. I like you and your bike. For the record, I thought you looked bad ass cleaning it in the freezing cold. However, this comment "We help each other darling." is SCARY.

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