we're into the really grotty weather now, or at least on islay we are, and i'd be willing to bet that it's the same throughout most of the uk. if you happen to live in one of the more agricultural areas of the uk, now's the time of year when you find large quantities of isle of wight ferry (hot and steaming and comes out of cowes backwards) all over parts of the singletrack roads that permeate much of the highlands.
this definitely makes grip a little less predictable, particularly on road wheels/tyres, though you're probably on more of a winner using 26" knobblies. while i know that islay is not alone in experiencing the rapidly encroaching influx of the suv, we do seem to have had our fair share of them over here during the year. and for some reason, which has escaped the members of both vc port wemyss and velo club d'ardbeg, many of these supposed offroad vehicles seem to be willing to go anywhere but. this has meant one or two excursions on to the green stuff due to an immovable chevy pickup (yes, really!), daihatsu, jeep, mercedes 4x4 et al.
i have no wish to turn this post into a flame against the drivers of such vehicles, though i figure i could probably manage such quite comfortably, but more on to the effects of both the current agricultural deposits and the unplanned offroading during the so-called better months of this year.
in other words, how often do you clean your bike, and is there a difference depending on which bike it is? i am very ashamed to admit that my older colnago received very little in the way of regular cleaning and have recollections that the previous steel road bike was cleaned about once a year. now this (the colnago with oodles of chrome), rust was not their best friend. the subsequent lack of cleaning did little to keep this rust at bay, and while the superissimo actually fared remarkably well considering the amount of chrome with which ernesto endowed this particular model (why do they do that?).
having bought the c40 about a year and a half ago, i figured on using the superissimo as my 'winter bike' since us major cycling aficionados are always supposed to have such things - so that we look really cool in the summer (about two weeks over here). however, logic dictates that winter would be beter served by something that doesn't rust. and carbon fibre falls into that ccategory. so the poor superissimo has been relegated to leaning forlornly in the bike shed while the c40 gets out and about quite a lot, in pretty much every weather condition. in fact, as i write, i have just returned from a brief sojourn out and back to bowmore along roads well used by massey ferguson and john deere. mud and isle of wight ferry abounded (see above) and much of this was brought home on the tyres, bottom bracket and the usual strip up the carbon seatpost and on up the back of the assos jacket.
i can stick the jacket in the washing machine, but i'm not too sure how carbon fares during a particularly vicious spin cycle (washingmachinepost or no washingmachinepost) and i'm not really that keen to find out. now as of present, i'm kind of hoping to get out again for a longer ride tomorrow morning so i haven't bothered to scrub the muck off, but assuming i do get out tomorrow, even more gloopy stuff will doubtless attach itself to the metal, rubber and carbon. so on return, much scrubbing will take place. i've found it much easier to get into all the nooks and crannies by removing the wheels while the bike is on the workstand. if you don't have a workstand, this latter method might prove a bit tricky, but if you are in possession of a cycle as valuable as the c40, a workstand would be a very good idea at a mere fraction of the cost of the bike.
since vast quantities of soap and water seem to be de rigeur for tour de france mechanics, then it's easily good enough for me. use a sponge and clean every bit of the bike you possible can, including cable outers, brake levers, gear mechs, dropouts, underneath the forks and brake calipers, the bit where the seat stays join the bottom bracket shell, any exposed cable wires and make sure you do the underside of the down tube.
when it's all washed well, get some clean water and rinse everything off. if the weather's nice, leave it out to dry off for a while, but if it's like it is today (grey, damp, drizzly, yuk), then get a dry cloth and dry everything off. this is particularly true if you still own a steel frame. now my mrs figures i take things to extremes, since after drying, everything is sprayed with mr sheen or pledge and it is then polished within an inch of its carbon fibres.
as a result, the c40 looks exactly as it did the day i assembled it eighteen months ago
at least it does until i go out cycling again.
if you missed the ardbeg cycle jerseys, click here for a look see.
i had an e-mail from john houston of falkirk bicycle club whom i met a few years back cycling (he was) on a whisky/cycle trip to the island. since john has been gracious enough to link to the post, i am reciprocating. www.Falkirkbc.co.uk
this website got its name because scotland's graeme obree built his championship winning 'old faithful' using bits from a defunct washing machine.
on a slightly different note, my regular reader will have noted the addition of a 'colnago c40' rollover to the left. this contains a reprint of a recent article featured in cycle sport magazine, which they were very kind to let me present here (because i'm a colnago geek) there are also links to cycling weekly reviews of the colnago c50 and colnago dream b-stay. i have also found an excellent review of the colnago c40hp here
i have been asked to add the following link to the post by wheelygoodcause. they're a cycling club dedicated to arranging epic rides for charity and do not charge charities for the pleasure. They ride because they want to. here's the link.
Remember, you can still read the review of 'the dancing chain' the utterly excellent book on the history of the derailleur bicycle by clicking here
any of the books reviewed on the washing machine post can probably be purchased from amazon.co.uk or amazon.com
as always, if you have any comments on this nonsense, please feel free to e-mail and thanks for reading.
this column almost never appears in the dead tree version of the ileach but appears, regular as clockwork on this website every two weeks. (ok so i lied) sometimes there are bits added in between times, but it all adds to the excitement.
on a completely unrelated topic, ie nothing to do with bicycles, every aspect of the washing machine post was created on apple macintosh powerbook g4, and imac computers, using adobe golive cs and adobe photoshop cs. needless to say it is also best viewed on an apple macintosh computer.