Monday, January 18, 2010

Bike Wash!

We had big plans to go skiing over the long weekend, but they were derailed by 44°F temperatures and heavy rain, even up in Maine. So instead we "washed" our bikes.

It was the Co-Habitant's crazy idea (as you have probably noticed by now, he is much more fun than I am). We had just returned from our trip and were getting ready for a quiet night at home, when he looked out the window and proposed that the rain might be a good opportunity to wash the winter crud off the Pashleys. "Let's take them around the block," he suggested.

As we raced down a road heading out of town a half hour later, it became apparent that we were on a joyride. In a downpour. In 44°F weather. In the middle of the night. The bikes were clean and shiny when we got home, and we were soaking wet and shivering. Good times! And now for some hot tea...

25 comments:

  1. There's nothing like reflections flickering and shimmering on streets slicked with a glaze of rainwater--although the sheen your Pashleys had after the ride probably came close.

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  2. We had so much fun on that ride! It was amazing (we should do it again some time soon).

    My Pashley really needed a shower after several weeks of winter salt caked up everywhere. The rain helped, but it didn't get everything off. I wiped it down after we got home, we'll see how it looks in tomorrow's sunshine.

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  3. I had never intentionally gone on a ride in rain like this before. I've gotten caught in the rain on the way back from a ride, and I've ridden in the rain for transportation, but that's just not the same as heading out in a downpour on purpose. I also don't usually ride so fast in the rain when I am on my own, but the Co-Habitant is a speed maniac regardless of weather conditions and I had to keep up. Thanks for the fun night!

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  4. Excellent...I will have to remember that reason for riding in the rain the next time. BTW I enjoy riding in the rain as long as it isn't one of our southern, chicken chokin', frog stranglers with thunder and lighting. Those I will wait out...

    Aaron

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  5. You are mad! But in a very good way :-))

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  6. sounds like fun! there's something about riding in the rain-- it's always more fun than it i think it will be. i usually loathe the idea of heading out in the rain on my bike (for something i have to do, like go to work-- i never go out in the rain just for fun), but within five minutes in the wet i've got a huge grin on my face. it happens all the time! i need to remember that feeling, maybe it will inspire me to go out in the rain more just for fun and not just because i have to.

    and it looks like it's back to snow again...

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  7. I had that same thought myself last night, but I said, nah, I'm nuts and it wasn't like I could talk anyone into going with me either. So you are both WAY more fun than I am and my bike is still salty and filthy. Today's wind driven rain will keep it that way too.

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  8. Fun! I'm sure the Pashleys feel much better crud-less :)

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  9. Steve: no, but we considered it several times. Need to go to an auto supply store and pick up some car wax. Is there a particular way of doing it that's different from cars, or should we just follow the regular instructions?

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  10. Yup, looks like back to snow this morning. Sadly, the 3" we just got are not enough to make it ski-able after the havoc all that rain wreaked. But it's very pretty outside.

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  11. MDI-- any car wax will do! just be careful about any custom lug outlining (i know you haven't done your pashleys yet, but just in case): car waxes all have a solvent base which cleans any grime off the paint while applying the wax (and also makes the wax water-proof). this _will_ dissolve any paint pen outlining that you've done. just FYI for bikes with any paint pen outlining.

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  12. Both natural and synthetic "waxes" are inherently waterproof. The cleaners the protectants are suspended in, well, clean, and aid in the spreading of the actual protectant (wax, oil or silicone) in a micro thin layer. They are volatiles that evaporate away. They don't have anything to so with further waterproofing; it's the cleaning action itself that's important to that, insuring the protectant is on the paint, not on fingerprint oil on the paint. Back in the day we cleaned and protected in two steps with a pure cleaner and a pure protectant. They are combined in a single product these days as a convenience, not because they work better that way. Some argue the old way is better and the pure products are still available.

    Silicone based "furniture polishes" (such as Pledge, which is not even actually a polish, let alone one specific to furniture) are essentially the same stuff as the synthetic car sealants. Liquid silicone suspended in the same volatile solvents. The silicone has no magical way of knowing whether or not the finish it is being applied to is on a car or on an end table and to work better on one than on the other.

    The "car" protectants simply leave out the "lemony fresh" bits and maybe add some "we can give this ingredient a propriatary trade name and market the shit out of it" bits.

    And you may well already have an extra can of the Pledge or its house brand/generic equivalent lying around. People generally overbuy the stuff. One can will protect a small stable of bicycles for years; perhaps decades, as it is properly used sparingly.

    Don't apply it to the bike. that's wasteful. Apply it to your cloth and rub it on. Remember, it's a MICRO-THIN layer that does the job. If the surface of the bike was been wetted; that's enough.

    That's for painted surfaces. If you want your chrome work to remain shiny and rust free forever; clean it with a bit of kerosene; let it sit until the volatiles have evaporated off, then use a real wax. I'd call Carnauba "The Good Stuff(tm)", but beeswax is also good and even paraffin candle wax will do the job.

    If you wanna go hard core do a spring cleaning and a fall winter prep where you use the Pledge (or its equivalent) and then apply a carnauba paste over it. The real wax adds abrasion resistance. You wear off the wax rather than the surface of the paint. If you want to go REALLY hardcore apply the carnauba every month.

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  13. I commute everyday, and while I do not dread rain, snow, or intermediate forms of precipitation, I have never found them particularly cleansing, especially this time of year when they are mixed with road salt.

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  14. For bike wax, get something from Meguiars that comes from a bottle that you don't need to buff. What you really want is the protection and "easy clean" properties with the minimum labor. Meguiar's products are very safe with paint. I haven't tried it, but Meguiar's "Ultimate Wash & Wax" sounds like the ticket. Wash the bike and get the wax job for no extra work. For bikes, one bottle will last for years, even with frequent use.

    Avoid "cleaner" wax or polishing compounds (even Meguiars). That stuff's got abrasives in it and may be hard on the paint, and especially on things like lug outlining. If in any doubt, test whatever you use, but I've never had a problem between wax and paint pens or pinstriping on any of my Jaguars. Wax HAS reduced stone pitting on the Jaguars and separating the dirt from the paint reduces paint abrasion wear and paint oxidation. It really speeds cleanup when the bikes next get dirty.

    I would not worry about where the wax goes, but I'd stay away from brakes and tires and never apply water at high pressure to either cars or bikes.

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  15. Thanks a lot for giving the Co-Habitant ideas. I can just imagine it: the evenings filled with him waxing his bicycles for hours!...

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  16. Good idea, sounds quite fun.

    Regarding the comment above -- so glad I'm not the only one who has waxed my bike!

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  17. Filigree: We're all essentially just looking for ways to pass the time until it's time to die. Waxing bicycles is as good a way as many and better'n most.

    MDI: But if you wax stainless spokes more than twice a year you're just being obsessive.

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  18. I'll do it as often as I put air in my tyres. :)

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  19. Man, you guys must have special rain in Boston - most days it's rainy in Portland, I get home and my bike is filthy from all the road splatter (even with fenders, I still get a lot on my bike, thankfully not on me).

    Regarding wax, does anybody know how the cleaners in it would do on the hand-painted details/lettering on an old Raleigh? I assume they are painted more permanently than a paint-pen, but I would hate to rub them off.

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  20. The striping is of the same quality as the frame paint; no problemo.

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  22. I suspect that riding in rain like this after a spell of winter snow, can be more harm than good, altho its hardly going to destroy anything. Salt and grime will be disolved by the rain and be washed off road sides and buildings near the roads. As we all seen by now salt is destroying ponds and streams even in some areas!

    I have taught myself to wash my bike indoors, and can now do it w o leaving stains on funiture and floors. Havent got one but seen a large plastig trough from IKEA that would hold a wheel, that would be very practical. I think its sold as an under bed compartment. Also go to the gunstore and get a cheap clenaing set for a handgun, like 9mm (or rifle .375) or bigger, the brushes as awsome to clean in small areas with!

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