Bikewash and Beer-run

It was incredibly hot here today. The boys played in next door’s paddling pool while the wife went shopping, she asked if I wanted anything and off the top of my head I thought of 25cl bottles of French Lager. While she was out and the boys were occupied next door, I wheeled the LeMond Etape out and gave it a much needed wash. Warm water, washing up liquid, a rinse down, a polish, pulling the chain through a rag until all dirt and oil had gone. Nothing but bare metal drying in the sun. If I had tried to ride it at that point, with no lubrication the drivetrain would have started to rip itself apart. Metal on metal, imperceptibly grinding until the gears slipped. So when the bike was fully dry I applied the unguents, dry lube for summer, sprayed on and allowed to cure into its waxy sheen. I do love the feel of dry lube on a clean chain.

I read recently that you shouldn’t use a chain cleaning device and solvent on a chain because it breaks down the lube built into the links. That may explain how I got through so many chains on my older bikes, I was a bit fanatical about applying the old solvent in my Halfords chain cleaner. Little did I know I was shortening the life of my chains, the crankset and the gears. So now I just apply a bit of washing up liquid in water, run the chain through a clean rag until the rag is black and the chain is golden. Then I dry it off and apply the dry lube link by link.

They didn’t have any 25cl bottles at Sainsbury’s and the weird thing is that although it was a throwaway request, suddenly I really wanted those little bottles. Only the Brompton had the capacity to carry the bottles so it was onto the folder and down the A361. Damn it was hot! I had changed into a freebie Amateur Athletics Association vest I was given when I worked for a bookshop, and a floppy hat, but it really was baking. There was a lot of slow moving, very hot, very dusty traffic all round Trowbridge, luckily there were also a lot of cycle lanes around Tesco and it was easy getting in there. Here’s another advantage to owning a Brompton, you don’t need a bike lock when you go shopping.

Brompton and bag in the trolley.

A quick pasta hit, back on the Brompton, easily carrying beer, dressing, shower gel and some Tesco value bicycle clips to stop my enormous trousers flapping into the drivetrain.

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