Saturday, January 17, 2009

things mechanical, revisited

wheeling my bike out of the garage felt good.
navigating the frozen, irregular ice dam at the end of my driveway felt good.
getting my butt back on the saddle felt good.
listening to the clanging sound some part of my bike was making did not feel good at all.

I have been terribly remiss in caring for my bike.
if it were a child, I would have been reported by now.
in fact, if cute jared at the bike shop knew about it, he would probably have my bike taken away from me.

yesterday I cleaned my chain, degreasing it, then gave it a light coat of lubricant. it was much quieter after that. but it's still dirty, specks and splotches of muddy dried water almost everywhere. snow has been melting from the hillsides and road edges, resulting in water seeping, trickling, or even streaming across the road. there is more on the downhill bike lane than the uphill, as the downhill bike lane is on the north side of the road, where the south-facing hill has given up almost all of its snow to the melting process.
heading uphill, thus, is a relatively dry endeavor, but the same cannot be said for the downhill ride. crossing all of the stripes of water, at 25 to 30 miles per hour, kicks a lot of little droplets of water up at my legs, bottom, and back, and even my arms. and occasionally, my face. when I get home, my butt is wet from the rooster tail I've sent up my backside.
as you can imagine, the water kicked up that doesn't attach itself to me, clings to my bike. it's one of those optical illusions: the water looks clean and clear, just as melted snow should, but as it dries the evaporated water leaves behind dirt.
one is also supposed to clean a bike chain after it's been wet, clean it and dry it, to prevent the possibility of rust taking over.
how often do you think I remember to do that?
yes, I'm a terrible wet-weather bike owner.
I will work on this, because a little bit of effort and elbow grease is a very small price to pay for the joy of riding my bike in the middle of january under a sun-filled bluer than blue sky.

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