Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Grease monkey

Hey kids! Today we’re going to learn how to clean a bicycle chain.

Chain tool

First, you’ll need a chain remover. This compact Park chain remover is a real beauty. When not in use, it should be kept on your mantle or in the hutch next to the fine china.

Remove chain

It’s such a pleasure to use. Just make sure you don’t push that pin all the way out. If that happens, you’re royally screwed.

Put in V8 container

I read on the internet that the ONLY way to really clean a chain is to put it in a plastic bottle with some degreaser. So I dropped the chain in this empty V-8 container filled with degreaser.

shake bottle

Then I shook the heck out of it. After carefully removing the chain, I noticed that this method didn’t do anything. The chain was still a greasy mess. Turns out you can’t believe everything you read on the internet.

Put in gas

So I reverted to the tried and true cleaning method – dump the chain in gasoline! That mother was clean within seconds. It’s best to do this outdoors and avoid the temptation to smoke cigarettes.

clean chain

Look at that chain sparkle. You could eat off it, if you don’t mind a little benzine and other toxic substances in your food.

Before putting the chain back on, I removed the crank and bottom bracket. Then I went to Life Cycle in Arcata and purchased a new, longer bottom bracket so I could outfit the “fancy” bike with the triple crank that used to be on the Mighty Panasonic (the bike I used for the TUC). Of course, that wasn’t the end of my expenses. I also needed a new front derailleur, being that the old one wouldn’t work on a triple crank. So I spent about $50 for everything. That means I’ve got a little over $100 invested in this bike.

Bike, ready for winter

I put on my old fenders and took her for a ride. Here she is on the Hammond Bridge. There are still some “issues” to be resolved, which I suspect are related to some of the front chainrings being worn out. If I throw an extra $30 at the problem, it might go away. Or maybe not.

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