Thursday, March 19, 2009

GamJams Reviews: Cleaning / Degreasing - The Pre-Moistened Wipe-y Things in the Gym

This week's review is about cleaning agents. I'm a total nut-job about keeping the bike(s) clean. Number one rule for keeping the bike clean? Don't let it get dirty. True of most things. Shoes off in the house. Don't cook like a whirling dervish. Keep your poo in the potty.

Anyhow...we live in a tiny apartment. It's clean in part because I don't wheel nasty, grimey, muddy, greasy bikes into the bedroom. SVR is a sweetheart for putting up with five bicycles in our 750 s.f. of indoor space, so the least I can do is keep those bad boys looking spotless.

Here's my process. Keep my gym access card in my cycling wallet. At the end of every ride, I roll straight into the gym in the basement of our building. I grab four pre-moistened towelettes from the dispenser in the gym. I pull the front wheel and wipe down the tire, rim, and hub with towel #1. Next, I flip the bike upside down and do the same to the rear wheel, still attached to the bike. That's towel #2. Towel #3 is for the rest of the frame exposed while the bike is upside down. Next, I flip the bike over and re-install the front wheel. Towel #4 goes to wipe down the top of the frame and any other, non-moving, dirty parts.

Of course, who knows what those towelettes are saturated with? For all I know, the solvent is terrible for carbon and aluminum. Somehow, considering the product is distributed for gym use (and presumably for people to wipe their bodies with), I imagine it's pretty mild. Still, though, the best I could do for this entry's title is 'The Pre-Moistened Wipe-y Things in the Gym.'

I also use some paper towels to wipe down the chain after every ride. I lean it against a wall and simply run the chain backwards while firmly gripping the towel around the lower run of the chain. The sweet spot is holding with enough pressure to affect some cleaning, but not with so much pressure that the towel shreds into a zillion small shards.

Once in a while, I mount the bike in the trainer (again, 750 s.f. doesn't exactly allow for a workshop with a stand and toolbox and workbench) to give the chain a good scrub down. I use Pedro's Bio Cleaner and spray the heck out of the chain and go through the same process referenced above. With the Bio Cleaner, I use a proper rag instead of paper towels. Heavy saturation usually leaves the chain looking okay. It never gets too dirty to begin with (see rule #1 above), so this spray down is usually good enough. I always let the bike sit overnight before re-applying any lube. Gotta let the cleaner evaporate before applying new lube. If not, the de-greaser will simply break down whatever new lubricants I apply.

Considering the review is only supposed to be about 'cleaning/DE-greasing,' I'll leave it at that.


Robb said...

baby seal alert: 4 towlettes a day? considering you ride 5 days a week that = 20 towlettes a week x 52 weeks a year. That's over 1000 of those you use on your bike every year. get a towel you retard!

layzeesusan said...


Believe it or not (and, knowing me, it's probably hard to believe), I don't use those after indoor trainer sessions. So you can knock a few off for winter months.

And to say I do this routine after EVERY ride is a bit of an exaggeration. I probably only use 500/year. But, then again, in the baffy, I wipe with my there's paper savings there. Consider that the next time we shake hands after a weekend ride. :)

Meantime...wait 'til that baby comes. Something tells me you won't be wiping its tush with your dish towels!

Anonymous said...

Poo in Potty...Check!

The todd

Robb said...

regarding diapers. we are going to mix between cloth diapers, disposables, and hybrids to minimize waste. someone has to neutralize your overuse of miniwipes and driving your vehicle 2 miles to work everyday. ;)

at least you save on razors and electricity from clippers during the winter you got that going for you.