Warmer and dry; Chains

February 1st, 2012

Today is supposed to be very warm, so I scaled down from the winter coat to a sweater plus rain jacket. I won’t repeat myself on how the fixed gear causes me to run warmer than usual, but today was another case in point of overheating. The temperature wasn’t actually so high – 37 degrees – but it sure felt warm.

Clothing: Light sweater, waterproof windbreaker, waterproof shoes, messenger bag. Light cotton (?) biking gloves.

If you canvas ten bicycle-inclined people and ask them about maintenance, nine of them will talk about the chain (and the other one will be clever). It bears repeating that if you do any of the following things, you need to clean and oil your chain at least once a month, and probably more often.

1. Ride your bike more than twice a week

2. Ride in rain or snow, even once

3. Store your bike outside

4. Ride off road

As regular transportation cyclists, we all see, and then hear, those bikers who are crawling along, straining their muscles to go five miles an hour, the bike shrieking as though in pain, and the chain recently dredged from the hold of the Titanic. We love to blog about them. I really wanted to make pamphlets to hand to bikers inching up the Longfellow Bridge in spring explaining how to do it (if anyone’s interested, I have other informational ideas, although the whole medium of unsolicited advice is a little obnoxious).  I’ll resist the desire to say more, except, clean your chain!

5 Responses to “Warmer and dry; Chains”

  1. hughkelley Says:

    What sort of eyewear do you use (and how do you keep it from fogging up on days like today)?

    With the increasing amount of salt/grit on the road I’ve taken to wearing clear glasses even when I’m riding in the dark.

    Today (in the fog) I couldn’t keep them dry – even while moving.

  2. Weather Guy Says:

    I wear prescription eyeglasses which tend to fog up and also capture lots of water if it’s raining. (A few days ago in heavy rain there was this drop that kept rocking back and forth at the bottom of one lens…)

    While I didn’t ride in the fog today, the glasses tend to get very fogged up in cold or moist weather, as you observe. I don’t have a solution; if you take them off your face and wave them around, the moisture will evaporate in a couple seconds. Avoiding certain head positions (looking way up or down, mysteriously) can reduce the likelihood of a fog up.

    I once saw “anti fog cloth” which you rub on the lenses, which I think probably cleaned dust off (makes fogging more likely) and also deposited a hydrophobic compound on the glasses. It was sold at a ski shop, but I can’t recall anything else about it.

    Anyone else have advice? hughkelley, if you find anything else good, please report back!

  3. PHF Says:

    Yes! Eye protection is a must.. especially with the salt and grit on the road, but even in the summer months. The last thing you want is something in your eye as you’re tanking down mass ave. And they stop your eyes from watering in the cold/wind too.

    I also wear a facemask that ‘allegedly’ filters out all the nasties produced by the cagers, and a pair of cycling glasses that are photo-chromatic (saves swapping lenses all the time and at night. The mask makes the glasses fog up, but i find if I prop them slightly lower down my nose they’re better ventilated and so clear quicker.

  4. Weather Out There » Blog Archive » Cool and Clear; Eyewear Says:

    […] post spontaneously generated a (small) discussion on eye wear. I know this usually gets short shrift on “what to wear” guides, but the […]

  5. Weather Out There » Blog Archive » Maintenance Clinic; Cool and Dry Says:

    […] in what it covered. There was a very thorough demo on changing a flat (I learned some things!), chain lubing, basic maintenance things to look out for, bike cleaning (hint: not this) and a general discussion […]

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