Life of grime

21 05 2012

Riding in the rain is rarely something I do on purpose.

It’s not a lot of fun. It can be dangerous. But mostly, it’s very very messy.

Rain seems to pull up all kinds of crud in the asphalt, and most of it seems to end up on my bike.

Sunday’s Fuggitivi group ride started under steel grey skies, with full awareness that it could rain at any time. We set out undaunted, hoping for the best.

Perhaps it was that threat of rain, and the afternoon of bike cleaning that would be sure to follow, drove our pace as we maintained a consistent 34 km/h clip. The first few drops barely slowed us.

But by the time we hit our pitstop at the Musette Caffé (of course), the rain was light but steady. The return leg was unrelentingly wet, giving us an easy out to avoid the fast, but slippery, descent down Burnaby Mountain.

By the time I got home, my beautiful Lapierre was a gritty, grimy mess.

I love a clean bike. I take pride in a shiny ride. When someone asked me if my old Orbea was a new bike, because it looked so clean and well-maintained, I smiled inside. I like to think a gleaming bike makes me faster.

The rain didn’t let up until Monday evening, which meant the Lapierre sat, dirty and forlorn for more than 24 hours. It bugged me. What if Eddy Merckx dropped by? He would be appalled.

Cleaning the bike isn’t hard, just methodical, being careful to get the rag into all the nooks and crannies around the derailleurs, inside the sprockets, even in the hollowed frames of the brake callipers.

But just when you think you’re done, and it’s looking great, you turn the bike upside down to replace the wheels, and there it is, all that underside grime. Ugh.

The cleaning begins anew as soon as you turn the bike upside down to replace the wheels.

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