BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘dirt’

#365daysofbiking True grit

Thursday January 21st 2021 – The weather is wreaking grievous harm to my steeds. The continual mud and grime this year is getting into bottom brackets, bearings, brakes and wheel axles. Things are gritty and crunchy and graunchy.

My bikes will be OK. Unless essential, I leave maintenance until later, when the season changes and weather clears so new components get a summer start to bed in. The patina of mud, grime and road crud is left unwashed, as it does actually form a sort of protective coating.

Note in the lower picture some of the contamination is clearly road salt.

This winter has been one of the most brutally dirty ones I’ve ever seen. Continual mud and slime from rain frequent enough to keep towpaths and trails as little more than slurrey.

Oh well, I’ll sort it in spring…

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#365daysofbiking Stuck in the mud

February 18th – One of the more grinding, miserable effects of the tremendously wet year so far has been the constant sea of mud that accompanies any off-road ride: From towpaths to cycleways, every journey is accompanied by damp and filth and the unpleasant, dogged drag through goop.

When things finally dry out a bit it will be so lovely.

But that feels a long way away right now.

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#365daysofbiking Mud larks

January 7th – This mud. It’s getting worse. It’s in everything, like a damaging, abrasive jelly, corroding metal, clogging up mechanisms and generally bringing the bike down.

I felt I should wash the bikes to remove the worst, so I did at the weekend. I was kind of scared of what I might find underneath.

2 days on an it’s like they were never cleaned at all.

It’s going to take a lot of work to get these steeds back up to scratch this spring. I’ll have my work cut out, clearly.

I expect whole biomes will be developing in the crud by then.

Oh the mud, what larks…

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#365daysofbiking Grime scene

December 9th – The increasingly poor weather really is taking it’s toll on the bikes. I’m not a fanatical bike cleaner, and prefer my steeds to show the dull patina of constant use: but right now it’s less of a film and more inches of crud picked up from the muddy trails and roads.

I’m working on the basis that this layer of detritus will prevent further ingress, but to be honest I’m not hopeful.

Next spring I’m going to have to do a lot of work on these bikes.

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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.