Posted in Fitness, Life + Living

Spring Upkeep: Cleaning the chain

The handy thing about having a house is that they usually come with that handy thing called a garage.  Garages are handy for lots of things! You can put tools in there… furniture you’re not using, vehicles you want to protect, lawn mowers in the winter, and snow blowers in the summer!  Oh yeah–and bicycles in the rafters.

My bicycle lived in the rafters for a while and it worked out really well for all involved.  Last winter, though, I lost that luxury and my bicycle had to hang out on our deck instead. Phooey.

I probably could have taken more preventative measures, but the fact of the matter is that they (both mine and Jeff’s bikes) were left to the elements and now that it’s spring time, we need to invest in some major upkeep.

I was worried about the brake cable housing and the shift cables themselves and so I called the local bicycle broker for a quote.  All told, the guestimate over the phone came to about $60.  I chatted with my bicycling friends about this to see if they could think of anything, and my buddy Ramon came through!

We used a Park Tool CM-5 Cyclone Chain Cleaner  and I have to say–it got the chain many times cleaner than my dawn-dish-soap-and-paper-towels routine.  The solution in the reservoir was black by the time we were through.

Another valuable lesson that I learned was that the Finish Line Dry Teflon Bicycle Chain Lube needs to be shaken up quite vigorously prior to use. “What do you mean it’s not supposed to be clear?!”  Apparently, this stuff is supposed to look like skim milk.  I guess my application of clear fluid to my chain when I tried to do this myself was inefficient because I lacked the shaking skill.

Ramon lubed up all of the moving parts and had a friendly yet unnecessary reminder not to lube the friction surface for the braking system.  I guess some people lubricate the rim and the pad material?? He said it was a necessary precaution.  I stayed mum.

Now that the bike is put together, the plan is to take it out for a spin this weekend.  My sister wants to meet up to go for a ride on Sunday, and, if I’m not too saddle sore, I’m going to check out my potential commute on Monday.

What is your favorite spring sport?  How do you prepare?


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