Nothing left "un-mollified"

Nothing left "un-mollified"

Velvet textured grime

Velvet textured grime

Charlie is maintaining his cross bike, the seven-speed machine of  choice. The one to be picked (as I will grab mine) in an emergency evacuation.
Nimble  off -road, and ultra-fleet on road (nae knobblies on those Spshlzd Xpo-titian Tyres),  skinny tire, wide-gear -range cross bikes balance lightly on bony  shoulders as we flee a fire (or flood, or locusts) by hopping from auto-roof to hood (bonnet) to boot to fender to hood, (the only clear path! Talk about a ‘metalled road‘!) the length of our narrow street which of course shall  be jammed with other panicky neighbors unpracticed in the auto-less life.   We Americans are unaware of the  fact  that automobiles will be worthless in a true emergency.

Naturally  we in the bicycle cult know that CARS are the  emergency!

Number, size, unwieldiness and sheer complexity make ought-not-omobilies the perfect vehicle for ‘carmageddon”…

Any day in the Ross Valley, you’ll see me prancing on and off the bike, cross-style where no one can see (i.e. in the woods).

I’m also that nut job  luxuriously stretching at the “hub”, the mid-county  stop lights with twenty lanes of traffic  aimed at the center of a (former train interchange, sob!)five-way   intersection..

I know, it’s indecent to flaunt one’s free range of motion not to mention one’s genuine enthusiasm for really long traffic lights (more time for yoga!). Until television-for-bored drivers is invented, I’m all they’ve got…

I know they want me to fall when I balance on the pedals, but I only turn a lazy, very tiny and perfectly controlled circle.

Damn, I’m getting way off topic, maintenance, and filth, and maintenance of filthy build-up.

Surface dirt.

Specifically, the desirable patina accrued on a bicycle’s NONmoving parts.

The time one would spend carefully cleaning away a harmless– no, make that protective— coat of grease/dirt/grime could be better spent. Don’t ask me how: I am sure you can figure something out…

I can’t forget that Overzealous Wombat who so carefully

–dare I say obsessively?-


no, make that “stripped”-

her super-shiny-like-no-other-‘Ham-we-have-ever-seen  of all grease, impurity, foulness, filth, dreck, etc.

Result:  very unhappy quick release, sticky cables, squeaky bearings. Dry, chapped things. Increased friction…

“Where’s my oil?” they  must have squeaked (in utter futility).

Some do not listen to this plaintive (and very repetitive) sound.

Result: the entire bike was parched. Things were bound together, immovable.

(Tech Addendum by CC speaking from his royal perch)

Anywhere dissimilar metals interface on a bike, bad things can happen.

Put two different metals together and you get a battery.

Batteries make electricity  and electricity flowing between metals leads to corrosion.

It is called “galvanic coupling” : a troublesome reaction when metals are under constant stress, like where spokes meet hub shells.

“Bikes  are made out of lots of metals” you say.

Steady those twitching toes. Turns out a little grubbiness takes care of everything.  A film of oil or grease between the metals is quite protective. Charlie spins his wheels and sprays Prolink chain lube on the spoke/hub zone once or twice a year, especially in the wet winter months. He puts a drop of same where each spoke meets the rim too.  It makes spokes and hubs last longer and the nipples can actually be turned if the rim needs truing.  WD 40 is allowable in a pinch. C doesn’t bother wiping the film off the parts and it collects dust, eventually creating a furry brown cloak of apparent neglect. Perfect for deflecting the attention of  opportunisitic bike thieves.

Grubophobes can of course wipe off the excess film knowing that the remaining oil is still doing its main job. JUST DON’T TOUCH THAT SOLVENT BOTTLE.

Note that the chain always wants a good rub with a cloth or brush, followed by drenching with that premier lubrication, Prolink, who is lightly linked  to our household…. (we have an exclube-sive arrangement, since Charlie too was a lubrication designer).

So yah, that’s it in a hubshel

~ by jacquiephelan on December 12, 2008.

4 Responses to “Patina”

  1. I think I may take it a step far:

  2. Thanks for the inducement to grubbiness! The Saluki thanks you, too, all the way from Scotland, where it (Scotland) is darker than dark and wetter than wet and finer than fine, etc. Traffic here will gum up faster than fast during an evacuation, just like in Cali, except for us cyclists. Huzzah!

  3. Whereas before, my non-attention to scunge (“reest” in the Sluggo’s lexicon) made me feel slightly combative shame, now I feel sanctified by it.

  4. Indeed. After much deliberation I have chosen my cyclocross bike to be the “go bike” in the event of all those cars going “unmanned” in the event of “tribulation”.

    I won’t ever breathe a word of this around the other bikes. I swear that I’ll take as many as I can… but… you know. Hard decisions may have to be made.

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