Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and being hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.
Today I christen Bike Cleaning Day, in honor of the two hours I spent de-greasing, de-sandifying, and re-greasing my bike. After 1,021 miles of riding with a minimum of care, my bike needed the scrubbing. It felt odd to work extremely hard to remove grease, only to reapply it an hour later. I did all this work confidently, courtesy of the sweet one-on-one biking tutorial I got for Christmas. During that tutorial, we thoroughly cleaned Mom’?s bike so I got a sense of what parts should receive what kind of attention.
Then, coming back to Massachusetts and looking at the state of my gears and chain, I was appalled. How did I let so much sand and muck build up? I literally scraped away huge* wads of greasy sand from within the gears. (Gee, could that have played some role in my shifting issues?) I wiped seemingly endless black smears from the rims of my tires and off the brakes; I used piles of toothpicks to clean around the gears; I scrubbed with our bathtub scrubber along the gears and chain; I blackened a white rag removing grease from the chain alone. The amount of gunk on the chain, in the dérailleur, and between the gears, simply astounded me. Then I went over everything with dish soap and water to remove the excess grease, which produced lots of greasy rags along with black streaks on my hands, shirt, and pants. Eventually I rinsed and dried everything, then let the bike sit out in thew windy warm outdoors to be completely dry.
When I say windy and warm, I mean we had serious wind gusts to 25 or 30 miles an hour and 68° temperatures. I worked outside comfortably in a T-shirt and jeans. My bike dried very quickly, and I meticulously applied the dry Teflon spray-on lubricant to all the parts of my bike I had earlier de-greased. This involved lots of pedaling the bike with one hand and shifting with the other to spread the lubricant around thoroughly throughout the bike’s moving parts. Tomorrow I will go out for a ride to ensure I have not inadvertently broken or misaligned something.
Finished with that, I tried to wash my hands but found that removing the grease would involve removing a layer of my skin. So I left the stains, figuring that if the grime resisted vigorous soapy scrubbing, it would probably not come off when I ate my lunch.
Tired but satisfied, I came inside and bought my lifetime membership to the Sierra Club (Ian’s big Christmas gift to me). In the late afternoon Ian and I took advantage of what little light remained and went to Hopkinton State Park, where we watched a windsurfer on the water as the sun set. We opened all the windows and left them open with this strong breeze blowing through, a very welcome freshening of our somewhat stale apartment.
* Relatively speaking, of course.