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Existentialism-- Just a bloody good excuse to go riding...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saving a few lousy cents

How much do you spend on maintaining your bikes?

I realized that having bikes sometimes is like having kids. The more you own the more you have to spend. Like little brats running around that hurt themselves and needing some TLC and grossly expensive medical bills, so will your bikes when things start to break. But a lot of these really boils down to maintenance. You can't keep a kid from outgrowing their pants and having to buy new ones but you sure can prolong the lifespan of parts to keep them going longer before the inevitable change.

Whether you use the hyped up expensive ones sold in shops or diesel/ kerosene to degrease, there is no getting away from it. I used to use the latter two as they are much cheaper....until I went "shopping" in industrial parks and spotted those industrial strength degreasers. Looking at the labels and smelling the familiar citrus smell, realized they are no different from those $30 per 750ml bottle sold in bike shops.

Only difference is that for 2/3 the price of a 750ml wrapped up in attractive marketing hypes, I get a whooping 5 liter pack. I'm glad my voracious appetite to read everything and anything under the sun came in handy....just a week before, I remembered reading everything I could find on degreasers after doing my lubrication "research".

Ok, saved a huge chunk there...but that is not the point. I'm determined to reduce my maintenance cost even further.

Last night I took out some cassette and greasy parts to do a thorough degreasing. What remained was a black gooey paste in the porcelain bowl that still smelled of orange. There is too little left to filter and keep in a glass bottle. So it got shafted under the cabinet as I thought of what to do with it. At the same time secretly wishing the resident pesky lizard would find it hard resisting taking a sip of "Orange Kool-Aid" and stop crapping his shit on my walls.

Tonite, like every Sat evening before my ride in the morning, I'll go through the bike that is going to be used. Damn! Last week grime and grit from the wet mucky trail was still there...I had totally forgotten about it.

If there is one thing I couldn't stand, it got to be a gritty chain. Just before I took out more degreaser, I remembered the little bowl of muck...   No dead lizard.

With an old used toothbrush (yea I keep those too) it was all but a 5 minutes job. Wasn't meant to be a thorough clean-and-shine job but a brush off and relubing with Pro link to make sure the inside of the rollers followed by some wet lube as I anticipate that after the ride, the grit will be back because of the rainy week. Just dip the brush on the side, avoid the muck at the bottom.

With a whole stable of bikes to maintain around my house, buying degreaser would be like buying infant formula for sextuplets and there is no equivalent of the Salvation Army to get a free tin or two for my biking needs. So every cent counts....

....more bikes in the back not shown


  1. Hi may i know where did u get the degreaser?

  2. Its been a while since I last bought... cant rememver exact place now but just drop in on an industrial park and look for shops that sells soap, degreaser in bulks... there should be many around and not too hard to find. Only thing is whether u want water or solvent base types... Im using the latter.