Fix it! Part 1: Cleaning
6.11.05 by Mike Bessenger
Mike Bessenger’s complete guide to top-notch bicycle maintenance & repair.
As you all know, I like to have a tidy, smooth running machine. People are always asking me, ‘hey Mike, how DO you keep your mount so clean and smooth-running?’ and ‘do you know anywhere I could get a knee-trembler on the cheap?’ and other irrelevant questions. The truth is: for an easy messenger life, a smooth-running pedalling machine is the way to go.
Before you can do any maintenance at all, you have to clean your bike. There are many ways to clean a bike. Most involve warm soapy water and a sponge, and perhaps a little bit of degreaser. Aunty Nasty uses baby-wipes and Body Shop Extra Sensuous Body Massage Oil if he’s flush or a house-mates sock and half a can of Stella if it’s been a bad week. I prefer the aural cleaner. Use the following method: prop the bike up against a fairly large speaker (say around 300 watts or so), put on a cd of Motorhead (or Bon Jovi, if you’re Josh) on repeat on volume 10 (or 11, if you have a really good system) press play, and then go down the pub for the afternoon. Leave it a good few hours, as this will allow the vibes max time to work their music magic on your mean machine.
If upon your return, you find that there is still dirt attached to your bike, you can try another favoured method of mine. For this you need a length of rope. Take your rope, and ride up to the canal. Get off your bike first, then attach the rope SECURELY using whatever your preferred knotting technique might be, and then gently chuck your baby in the canal, whilst keeping a FIRM HOLD on the other end of the rope. When a suitable period time has elapsed, say the amount of time it takes to drink a beer, but not as long as it takes for a Metro rider to get his head out from his arse, withdraw your baby from the drink, dry off the saddle and away you go: pure, clean cycling perfection.
Part 2: bottom bracket replacement – metaphor for life or major pain in the arse?