March 19th – The thaw was thankfully quick, and the day felt positively warm and sunny as aI zipped about the Black Country on errands.
I was only when I got back to work and the bike started to dry out did I realise the toll the snow had taken.
That bottom bracket won’t be long for the world now with all that grit. My bikes will need some real TLC when the better days arrive.
November 21st – In a familiar bike shed at a client’s premises, a neat illustration that the common or garden bicycle, whilst being a marvel of engineering in many ways, is still riddled with design conflicts and the whiff of mechanical compromise.
Here, a well-used and muddy mountain bike, not a cheap one by any stretch. The lack of mud and water shielding means and mud and detritus carried on the back tyre ends up not just as a skunk-stripe on the rider’s back, but also on the front gear mechanism and transmission.
In areas of hard grit like the Peak District, this continual spray works like grinding paste, gradually eating your wearing surfaces.
All for the want of some shielding.
Still, if you were a designer today, and proposed the derailleur system of gears – relying on forcing a flimsy roller chain between gears using side play as a conformal drag factor – you’d be laughed out of industry.
Except there’s nothing much better.
January 25th – It perhaps hasn’t become apparent yet to most folk, but to cyclists and those bound to the outdoors, this has been quite a grim winter.
We’ve had far more frosts this year than last, and consequently, there’s been a lot more salt on the roads. The damp but not terribly rainy conditions have led to a corrosive, goopy, sticky road grime that coats the bike and is taking a steady toll, particularly on the wheels and brakes.
Investigating a rub tonight, I noticed the corrosion on the disc pads, and the badly grooved disc. Aluminium parts are developing a familiar white bloom. There is surface rust on the exposed bare steel surfaces of pedals and bottom bracket.
When the weather clears, all this will need attending to.
January 2nd – This awful weather is accumulating crud on the bike, and on me.
I think I might have to break the habit of a lifetime and hose the worst of it off. I don’t think I’ve ever known a winter like this.
October 27th – I’m not one for religiously washing bikes, preferring the patina of grime that shows a bike is well used, and also makes it less attractive to thieves. However, the mud gathered on my bike over the past couple of days is loaded with pine needles and grit. These, over time, will get into moving parts and for a sticky, resinous paste that will accelerate wear and attack paint and metal. As soon as the weather clears it’ll be out with the Muc Off spray and a hosepipe.