Thursday, January 23

Infomercial: Day One

For a person who participates in endurance races and enjoys the finer things in life (like custom frames, craft beer... well, that's actually all the finer things), I'm quite lazy and cheap.  I've been known to cut corners in order to save money and reduce my effort levels to as close to zero as possible.  Cutting my own hair (when I actually cut it), saving Ziploc bags, avoiding much needed brake maintenance for almost an entire year...

I like my bikes clean.  My car?  Not so much.  Cars are dumb and utilitarian, a conveyance to get my bike somewhere it is currently not.  My work bike is also utilitarian,, thus the reason it's normally covered in a glaze of over-applied lube, construction mud, tree sap and snot.

This time of year, keeping my mountain bikes (the only bikes I truly care about) clean proves to be more difficult.  The hose is often frozen, and my desire to stand in the front yard dunking my hand in a bucket of water... yeah, not so much.

My rags see a three-stage lifespan.

New (kept in my re-purposed credenza work bench):

Not quite new but very useful (draped on my Park truing stand):

Further evidence of my cheapness, the aluminum backed Shimano pads on my work bench that are not quite used up, worthless to me, yet I can't bring myself to throw them away in the trash can right behind the truing stand.

Disgusting, but perhaps handy for one more dirty job (piled between the big blue bins):

Rags are handy for all kinds of things.  I learned something new while at the Trans Rockies in 2006 when The Wonderboy and I handed our bikes off to Wrenchie, the Race Face engineer (numbers not choo-choo).

Dry cleaning.

Wait for the mud to dry, flick off the big chunks, and rub the bike with a dry rag in a back and forth motion similar to a shoe shine boy.  That's how Wrenchie did it, even though I think he was just trying to avoid the line for the hose since he was maintaining four bikes all week long.  It gets the bike clean... for the most part.  It's what I do in the winter time when the hose isn't an option.  Most of the dirt is gone, the bike is relatively clean.  I do have to sweep the floor (if The Pie is taking notice of my activities).

But then I go a step further.

A little time with a Pro Towel and the bike is 99% as clean as if I had taken it outside.  I can even get my white ESI grips back to a color that is very close to white, although white is actually all the colors of the spectrum bounced into our retinas and not really a color at all.  Then a little shrewd indoor use of the Foaming Citrus Degreaser (doing my best to not get it on the floor) and using one of the most disgusting rags on hand, I can get my bike almost showroom ready for the next Winter Short Track race.

I'm still cheap about the whole thing.  I've mentioned before that I get a full use out of my Pro Towels.

Open the snap lid, and you can see where the next fresh towel is always at the ready.  Above it, space enough to shove in one wadded-up, half-used Pro Towel.

This isn't a technique recommended nor endorsed by Pro Gold, but they never told me not to do it either.

You're welcome.


AdamB said...

I see the Pro Towel as "half-new" and not "half-used." You could also save them to throw off the podium to your adoring fans (in case you don't have a bra available).

Anonymous said...

Holy shoes batman!

BUCK said...

You sure know alot about strap on stuff.