My clean bike obsession

Clean, clean, clean

Clean, clean, clean

I knew this would happen with a new bike. I’d get anal about keeping the bike clean, just like I did with the last few bikes I’ve owned.

Usually, this obsessive bike hygiene wears off after a few months. You get a scratch or two , some dirt and grime gets in the corners of the frame and you recognize the futility of trying to maintain the absolute pristine condition of your new bike. You’re a realist; this level of clean is not sustainable.

That very moment, returning to normal basic cleaning, is when your new bike officially becomes used. You stop freaking out and worrying and fighting that losing battle against dirt that you can never win. You say goodbye to the pure and absolute and pristine beauty of your shiny steed and accept the inevitable.

Only I haven’t given up just yet. After six months, I’ve broken all previous barriers and cleaning habits for my new Calfee Manta. I have rituals. I have established a “clean room” where I keep the bike. I refuse to take my bike out in bad weather, not even a light rain. I can’t help myself.

Here is my routine: I bring the bike inside the apartment and take it to the spare bedroom, which by the way is spotless. (I clean the wood floor by hand, crawling around on my knees.) Then I go the the kitchen and get two white paper towels and lighting moisten them at the sink.

Returning to the bike bedroom with the bike upside down, I wipe the tires down, turning them until nearly all the black residue is gone. Then I lovingly wipe down the frame and derailleurs all over until there is not a spec of dirt to be found anywhere. Then I flip the bike back up and lean it against the white wall, admiring the glory of my handiwork.

I had some trouble this week after I was caught in some unexpected rain. Rain, people. Splashing dirt on my stunning black unpainted carbon frame. You can imagine my distress. Extra paper towels, extra time and dedication, but in the end the Manta was returned back to art gallery perfection.

Rain is forecast for the next week. Going to probably need a whole roll of paper towels. Don’t think I won’t.

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