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Keeping it clean

Posted Jan 11 2010 5:24pm
Back in December I wrote about how I was trying to turn over a new leaf on winter bicycle maintenance. My previous philosophy on cleaning bikes during the winter months amounted to: why bother, it's just going to get dirty again tomorrow. I ended up cleaning my bike once or twice a winter when something important, like the brakes, failed to work at all anymore. I made up my mind this winter season to take a new approach. As soon as I get home, I put the bike up on the rack. Let it thaw. And before the evening is over I take a bucket of soapy water to it. Somehow, and I don't know where I got the motivation to keep it going, I've successfully done this every single day this winter.

I think the biggest motivator so far has been the simple pleasure of heading out each morning with a sparkly clean bicycle. No matter what the weather was the day before, or what it is that particular day. I really think it's added a new level of enjoyment for me on my daily rides. Try it for the psychological boost as well as the simple fact it's good for your bike.

Today our warm-up has started. A morning commute temp of 19F (-7C) with a light dusting of snow and a few flakes still coming down. This was warmer than the high temp has been for at least 2 or 3 weeks. It felt downright balmy. I didn't even wear a hat today. Just a headband under the helmet.

We're supposed to get up near freezing the next few days. That should make for a sloppy mess. After tomorrow the Pugsley may get a rest from commuting as the fendered Cross Check takes over.
Seeing that the trail conditions my worsen a bit during the warm-up, I couldn't resist riding some trails on the way home. It was actually a few degrees cooler on the ride home. The clouds had cleared early and the sun had beat down all day. It had softened up the previously hard packed trails. They were still in prime condition, just a bit slower with a little less traction on the uphills.
It'd be nice to get another snow storm and then a temperature drop to firm up the trails again. It sure has been fun riding the trails with the conditions we've had the past few weeks.
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