On Tuesday (May 4)1, I had some time before class. Seeing that the rain wasn’t supposed to start for another few hours, I decided to go out for a quick ~20 mile loop around the city. Unfortunately, only a few miles into the trip, I found that I had been deceived by the weather app—it began absolutely pouring, and I had to seek shelter under a bridge.
There was another poor cyclist stuck under the bridge. When the downpour subsided a bit, he decided to head back home. Being slightly foolhardy, I decided to continue my ride, banking on the weather not turning too bad very soon.
This turned out to be correct, and I had an okay ride afterward; I tried out a new route back home after doing my usual counterclockwise loop of the Pittsburgh peninsula; this time, I went north from Hazelwood and into Squirrel Hill, before taking Forbes back to campus. There’s a nontrivial ~0.8 mile climb on Hazelwood to contend with, but the rest of the route is surprisingly flat (by Pittsburgh standards, at least).
After the ride, I had a bit of a problem: riding in the rain had left some nasty gunk in my drivetrain. My bike was due for some cleaning anyway, so I figured: why don’t I give it a deep cleaning?
I didn’t do a full disassembly (and I don’t even have a chain whip/cassette tool), but I did take off the wheels and chain, and I meticulously scrubbed every bit of the bike off. I manually wiped off every single link of the chain, before applying a drop of lubricant to each link. I scrubbed my cassette until it was rather shiny (not quite like new, but close enough from afar). I wiped down each individual tooth on my chain ring and jockey wheels.
To clean the frame, one would typically use a garden hose, but I live in an apartment, so this isn’t feasible. I instead had to resort to washing the frame off in the shower! This actually wasn’t too bad, since sans wheels, carbon frames are fairly light and small.
It was definitely a bit of a pain to clean my bike, but I also enjoyed the experience of getting to work on my own bicycle.
Being the proud owner of a newly cleaned bike, I figured that it was only right that I go out for a proper ride to show it off properly. I had to wait for the perfect weather—there was no way I was going to immediately get the bike dirty again by riding on wet roads. On Saturday, the perfect opportunity presented itself, and I set out on a largely familiar route, my go-to northeast loop of Pittsburgh. This route is typically a little under 40 miles in length, but this time I added in the extra section through Hazelwood and Squirrel Hill, which brought the total distance up to a little above 40 miles. There’s a decent ~3000 feet of elevation gain. I can see this becoming my default route in the future.
The ride itself wasn’t that eventful, but I got some decent pictures in rather scenic locations, which made all the effort to do a deep cleaning worth it.
May the Fourth be with you, etc. etc.↩︎