one of the girls with whom i work has a definite case of obsessive compulsive disorder specifically related to a determined need to tidy and clean. both of us tend to be in the office at least fifteen minutes before we're officially due to start, mostly, in her case, to make a cup of tea before settling down to spend the rest of her day dealing with inscrutable numbers on spreadsheets and accounts packages.
while she's through making the tea (i generally abstain at that time of the day), i can trudge my way through lots of lovely e-mail spam, on the close lookout for something that might actually be relevant to the day's business. quite frequently, about half an hour has passed before it dawns on me that she has not returned from the kitchen. on further investigation, there she is, with marigold gloves on, cleaning the sink, polishing the surface, sweeping the floor... you gain the general idea.
unfortunately for one so impeccably clean and tidy, she occupies the desk opposite mine, one who has no qualms whatsoever about leaving all manner of pens, cables, sheets of paper, envelopes and all the other items related to the paperless society cluttering the area around the imac. sitting midst such superficial chaos fills me with a sense of purpose; oddly, i find it comforting, and though i couldn't immediately find anything of importance, i know it's there somewhere. i'd like to say we have a symbiotic relationship, but i'm sure i'd be lying.
however, everybody has a character failing somewhere, and mine concerns bicycle chains. if there's a deep psychological reason for this, i'd be willing to point the finger at eurosport's tour de france coverage. every now and again, one of the intrepid motorbike camaramen will hang over the side of the bike, holding the camera a few centimetres above the tarmac, giving us a worm's-eye view of one or two derailleurs and ever so shiny chains.
i'm well aware that professional riders are supported by an entire staff of mechanics who's sole purpose in life is to fettle a truckload of bicycles at each day's end, handing them back each startline morning as if they'd just been lifted from a cycle store showroom. i'd like my bicycle to be like that, but just like everyone else, there are more pressing necessities at the end of a mucky winter's ride. such as having a hot shower and gorging on food.
however, my mechanical knowledge stretches as far as being aware the following day's forward motion depends greatly on the chain being in pristine condition. particularly if i've given the mavic car the day off. if the chain breaks, won't i look silly? so, once the niceties have been taken care of, i clean the chain with liberal squirts of degreaser and an old rag, before drying it and applying an appropriate lubricant.
there is a good case for accepting all modern-day chain lubes as equals, but in the case of aesthetics, some seem far more likely to leave the chain looking black and oily, though ostensibly carrying out their prescribed duties. i dare say that's an excellent indicator of it fulfilling its employment demands, but i'd still like to own a shiny chain, just in case eurosport start broadcasting the velo club's sunday ride.
the recent eight days of festive 500, followed by 70km on new year's day, in weather conditions that were not always favourable changed my daily chain medication not one whit. but in this case, each day's application of chain lube was of the original synthetic lube, developed by bruce fina and andrew herrick in 1989. both fellows were avid mountain bikers in america's pacific northwest, a region of the states that receives only marginally less precipitation than the scottish inner hebrides. pedros syn lube offers a rather satisfying concoction of synthetic oil, teflon tenacity and detergent ingredients which, according to the label, is waterproof in the face the insistent and persistent wet stuff.
i cannot deny that i barely gave the syn lube a chance to prove its longevity, or indeed its waterproofing qualities. in order to retain a satin sheen on the review colnago's eleven-speed chain, i subjected it to the daily routine, ending with a drip of the faintly green syn lube on each chain link, then wiping off the excess with one of those handy rags that seem to follow any bicycle fettling.
throughout the review period, not only was there nary a whimper from the drivetrain, the shifting across eleven campagnolo sprockets and two campagnolo chainrings was damned close to perfect. granted, a more exacting review would have been to lube the chain on christmas eve and leave well alone until the new year. but as i mentioned above, a shiny chain is my one concession to obsessive compulsive disorder.
wednesday 7 january 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................