i have been remiss. in fact, my remissiveness has reached almost criminal proportions, for i have barely wiped a bicycle tube clean since the new year dawned over islay. i can recall the day when each bike ride would have ended with my grabbing a sponge and soapy water to drench the velocipede and restore it to its former shiny glory. however, i figure my location is extreme and remote enough, that if we promise to keep this to ourselves, perhaps no-one need suffer indictment.
there has, however, been such an unbroken chain of crap weather almost all of this year, that the last thing on my, or anyone else's mind has been to divest myself of weather-beaten garments and once more enter the fray to apply the same care and attention to the bicycle as i would wish upon myself. for were miss kirstein of sugar wheelworks fame to happen by of a sunday afternoon (unlikely, i know, but i like to think of it as dramatic licence), she would have been aghast at the highly inappropriate state of each and every spoke on that tied and soldered chris king rear wheel.
rather than the brilliant shine that a set of stainless steels really ought to offer the innocent bystander, these appeared as if coated with a coarse matt black substance which, in truth, they were. however, one can bear only so much embarrassment; it is beyond the pale to spout forth the pelotonic dialect at each and every opportunity, all the while concealing the skeleton in the closet. eventually, something had to give, and that moment happened on one day earlier this week.
there's no doubt that, as is reputedly the case for the professional mechanic, lashings of soap and water would have had the desired effect, but in this particular case, i enlisted the aid of that morgan blue chap who so kindly supplied chamois cream only moments ago. this assistance was two-fold, stage one living up to the descriptive colour in the shape of a one litre bottle of clear blue liquid bike wash.
according to the instructions imprinted on the label, one ought to splash 100ml into ten litres of water. however, rather than an entire fleet of bicycles, i had only one chris king cielo clamped within the workstand, and such a quantity seemed a tad excessive for my requirements. so i resorted to guesswork. filling a bucket half full of warm water, i added a couple of capfuls of bike wash to move onto the next part of the equation. unfortunately, it seems my guesswork is not metric in intent, and i ended up with rather more bubbles than i'd bargained for.
however, an excess of foam is never a truly iniquitous problem, for i think it likely the bike can only be cleaned skin deep. mrs twmp's childminding kids would have enjoyed the overabundance of bubbles. since the agricultural nature of the island is unlikely to keep the frame and now shiny rear spokes in the manner to which they hope to become accustomed, i would surely bear no criticism were i to have stopped at that point. and as a product of belgium, a country i have unilaterally twinned with the hebrides, it would surely be used to the consistency of grit disguising the cycle formerly known as cielo. it may not have resembled sir bradley's tour winning velocipede at each stage start, but it was a darned sight cleaner than had been previously the case.
but morgan blue was not content to leave things as they now were, for cuddling up to the one litre bottle of bike wash, was an aerosol can of bike polish. surely the ideal companion and an inseparable pair? having allowed the frame and odd bits to dry, after removing the remaining soap bubbles, it was a simple matter to spray everything in sight, careful not to get any on the wheel-rims and brake shoes. it is then a simple matter of grabbing a nearby cloth and shining every bit of my beloved bicycle. the results were impressive to say the least.
i have now promised self and morgan blue that i will not allow this situation to repeat. as often as possible, i will use shine as my mantra. and when i get one of those roundtoits, i have every intention of moving onto the next stage, by taking advantage of some morgan blue chain cleaner and lube.
much as i hate the cliche, might i impress upon you to watch this space.
belgium's morgan blue offer their one litre bottle of bike wash for only £9.95 and a 400ml aerosol tin of polish at an rrp of £9.99.
wednesday 20th february 2013..........................................................................................................................................................................................................