Hi, I’m your bike. We need to talk. The Colorado weather has been pretty great this winter, hasn’t it? I’m pretty happy about how much extra time we’ve gotten to spend together at a time when I’m normally stuck in the garage or chained to the indoor trainer. I gotta tell you though, all these wet, snowy, slushy, sandy, salty roads are really starting to hurt, and don’t get me started on the cracks and pot holes. I know you’re having a good time and I’m really happy about that but sweetheart we need to spend some post ride time together.
I can feel the sand and salt from the roads grinding my chain and gears. The mag chloride is so coated on my cables that they hardly move; and they creak and groan when they do. Yeah, you may have tried to lube my chain but please take it easy; too much of that stuff just gets me all black and grimey and sometimes only makes things worse. The lightweight summer tires are really beating me up on these cold wintry enlarged cracks and potholes. I can literally feel my spokes changing in tension. So, punkin, here’s a few things I would love for you to do with me, and if you do I promise to stay around a lot longer and do my best to keep your wallet fat so maybe you can upgrade me, or perhaps get me another friend around here?
Clean me. Please, please, clean me. It’s not hard and it doesn’t take long but it’s easily the best thing you can do for me. Use a bucket of warm water with mild dish soap. Soak my chain and gears in some friendly degreaser (I kinda like the the WD40 degreaser stuff, so gentle and strong). Just scrub me with some good brushes and keep that water jet away; do you love a high powered jet of water on you? Don’t use the grease brush from the drive train on my frame though. Clean my cable guides, my brake pivots, my pedals, my rims (please clean my rims, that grit is destroying my brake pads). Then just a little chain lube will do. A drop on my derailleur moving pivots would be a nice touch if you got time.
Since we’re being honest here, could I get some wider, tougher tires for the winter? I promise we’ll have a better time and I won’t worry so much about these nasty roads.
Also, I saw buddy of mine with some light svelte fenders on and he looked so happy, and his rider, oh what a clean kit he had. If you need a little direction I know some really smart and helpful bike mechanics who I know are looking out for us. Check in with them and let’s keep this winter riding thing going. I’m up for it.
Jason Gardner is owner and lead whisperer at Jinji Cycles. Check in with Jason and the boys at their shop in the Lower Highlands of Denver. TE members get 10-15% off parts and labor and advice is always free.