One item that i feel should be clarified.
There is a difference between someone who commutes by bike every day
and someone who rides recreationally/competitively.
At least there is based on my purely subjective-objective survey. The
basis of the survey is this: Do those who commute by bike more than
they commute by car have a different attitude towards bike
And the overwhelming sample population points to the answer: YES
no question. Take myself for example. Are my non-commuting bikes
cleaner than the ones used as primary transportation? yes... why?
cause i spend all the time on them and have refined a maintenance
policy that essentially is: lube the chain when it sounds dry. Dats
the built up grime and grease are barriers to water from rain and
melting snow, and do not hamper the performance of the bike, nor
affect the longevity.
What gets changed most often? Brake pads and tubes.
This gets down to the more personal level of how one maintains their
bike. I went through a mental list of the handful of folks that i
have run across here at Brown who bike almost every day to work and
they are like minded. It is more important to ride your bike,
parking the car, than to worry about a little dirt on the chain, or a
speck or salt crusting on the frame. No, i have not washed my bikes
in, a very very long time. No i have not taken the drive train apart,
or power washed it or loaded it with lube and washed it off. Yes i
have ridden to work every day this year save two i think, and they
were not weather related.
I'm using myself as a personal example. Now to balance that, if i
didn't have commitments at home that demanded my attention more than
cleaning a bike, i probably would have a cleaner bike... but i
wouldn't have a bike that works any better or parts that last any
That though and i'll admit to having purchased a replacement can of
T-9 (boeshield) to use to clean the bike. A little on a rag goes for
the frame and a few shots of spray in the pivot points of the
derailleurs and brakes and what not - is about all the bikes will
Bike maintenance/cleanliness is very personal. Keep them well lubed,
keep them mechanically functional (shifting properly- if you have
gears) true(ish) wheels and properly adjusted bearing surfaces
(headset, hubs... what not).
As with everything - gather the facts for your situation, and make an
informed (not a blind or lazy) choice regarding what and how you care
for the bike. And if you need a chain more than once a year... the
folks at Prov Bike or The Hub will be happy to fix you up, chains are
cheap, esp considering the overwhelmingly positive impact commuting by
bike has compared to driving a car.
now i will shut up, esp as i'm feeling the urge to explain how toxic
cold gasoline engine emissions really are (gas hybrids included) and
the fact that anti-wear additives in oils don't do any good until the
engine is up to temp...
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