Monday, July 9, 2012

Tidy Person Meet A New Kind of Dirty, Bicycle Cleaning 101: Week 12

Completed week 12 in a quest to commute by bicycle at least twice a week for a year.   How is it going?  Pretty good.  Last two weeks, eight commutes and two long rides, puts the total at 27.  8 in the bank.  Time to up the ante with a touch-the-chain experience.

In honor of cycling idol, Bike Snob NYC...
... who disapproves of people who pay for basic upkeep, I decided to try Bicycle Maintenance Step A, clean the free wheel and chain wheel.  The words free wheel and chain wheel were not in my vocabulary before last weekend (thank you Bicycling for Beginners), but the parts in question were in my consciousness because they get gunky in winter.  If you let them go long enough you can't lock up without getting black stuff on your pants.  

Fortunately the Man of the House knows how to do this and has the appropriate equipment:

Degreaser.  Don't let the citrus part fool you. This stuff can melt your toenails.  Wear gloves. Doesn't smell very good either.  Keep the garage door open.

Something to put degreaser in.

A nifty device for cleaning the chain.
Chain cleaner in action.  See? Nice and shiny.  Do not look at the floor underneath.
Free the free wheel by taking off the quick release for the wheel.  Had trouble with the springs.  They are quick little things.
Another handy tool.  It has teeth.  (Yes, me without gloves.  Regretted it.)

Really get in there.

A little clean up on the spokes.  Mm-mm. 

Uh oh. A snag.  Chain ring wouldn't fit over clips on pedals.  Couldn't find the right wrench to get the clips off.  Cried.  I was about 2 hours into it by then. Maybe high on Citrus Degreaser. Solution:  realized that the bike shop could take the clips off the pedals in three minutes, probably for free.  Gave up on chain ring. 

Beautiful, huh? OK, maybe not, but there is a lot less noise down in the nether regions.  No more ominous grinding.  Would I do it again?   Mayyybe.  Okay, yeah.  Next time, for time.  Under 90 minutes or bust. 

Happy riding.
For better pictures and step-by-step directions, check out the Triathalon Newbies siteAcknowledgments and thanks to the Man of the House who let me get into his stuff, provided instructions and then wisely retreated to the man cave. 


  1. Oh this is so great and timely! I had no idea there was a tool for cleaning the chain. I gotta get me one of them! Hahaha!
    Thanks for coming by today! It sounds like you are making all kinds of new friends!

  2. A comment! A comment! Hail hail Susie. Thank you. Just hit 5000 visits on this blog today, and now a comment. Great party by the way, and yes meeting many new friends. Thanks for sharing your network of friends.


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