Thursday, January 28, 2016

Who say bike maintenance isn't fun and fascinating?

On the West side of Seattle, it's beginning to feel, Thursday nights are work-on-bike nights. (This echo of the Prince spaghetti day commercial isn't working as well as I'd like.) In truth, I don't remember if it was a Thursday that I came home some weeks back, determined to clean the grease off of Bessie's wheels because she didn't seem to be braking as she should, but I'm going to pretend that it was. On this evening's ride home it was actually light enough to go through Dragonfly Park so that's what I did. I didn't realize, until it was too late, that They seem to be doing work on the paths there; fresh sand had been laid down in a couple of stretches. It went from being a little difficult to ride to almost-impossible-to-ride pretty quickly. Soon after, I noticed I was hearing the chain in a not-good way and also that the hill that immediately follows the park seemed steeper than it had the night before.

While that could just have been my own exhaustion (pretty much everyone at work has a cold/flu, and I'm not entirely an exception), I decided Bessie should come into the basement and have a bit of work done on her. I like to pretend that I'm turning into Madi Carlson's obsessive friend Sean McGraw. Oh, it's not like I'm really doing any of the steps he recommends in chapter 9 of her excellent Urban Cycling; but I like to pretend that I am. This  evening, after changing into my empowering Goat Justice League t-shirt, I rinsed, de-gunked, and re-oiled the chain, gave the front set of gears a bit of a scrubbing, and used soap and water and then dry cloths on the rims of both tires. Eventually I pulled the front wheel off entirely and ran some hot water over it in the laundry sink, scrubbing with a wee brush as I did so. Her frame even got a bit of a wipe-down. It was all oddly satisfying.

There should be photos, of course, but even I am not crazy enough to think that bicycle grease and my camera belong in the basement together--and I sort of suspect that the basement might not be entirely photogenic anyway. Instead I'm adding an older photo taken on a day when she was looking particularly glamorous.


  1. I'm sure Bessie looks even spiffier now than in the photo. And thank you for reminding me of one of the many reasons I'll never own a bike. I can barely maintain my pair of walking shoes!

    1. There are plenty of people who would be happy to do your bike maintenance for a fee. Think how spiffing Truman would look in a bicycle helmet!

    2. Truth to tell, I've felt strongly attracted to this:

      Truman could ride in the basket! And I'd feel a lot safer.

    3. Based on the reviews, I'd say it looks like a great bike for you but you should see it if you can get it from a local bike shop. "Urban Cycling" addresses the risks of buying a bike from a "big box store" where the bike might be missing parts or misassembled.

    4. PS. Just don't google "three-wheel adult bicycle"!