The truth is in black and white.



It’s true. I am a whore, (or, as the kids say, a ‘hoe).

At least as far as the confines of this blog site is concerned, and sometimes other places too.

Cheap Trick knows what I mean.

And part of my whoring duties is to pleasure those residing in Chez Maximo Supremo. Luckily for everyone concerned, the Maximum Supremacists have all been hand picked by me based on the fact that I like what it is that they do, and I want them to support me supporting them supporting me supporting them. For the most part they sit in their respective corners and glare at me un-approvingly over their bifocals, but occasionally one will send a dispatch over the airwaves with a request to pay them some personal mind, which of course I will do gladly because I exist solely to make people happy.

Why, it was just a week or two ago when Peter from Surly Bikecycle and Bikecycle Parts Company got in touch and asked if I wouldn’t mind giving a new project they have cooking a little bit of traction.

Of course I wouldn’t mind” I said, to which Peter responded “to sweeten the deal, I’ll send you one what of which we’re asking for the traction about.

Never one to turn down free stuff unless it’s broken Tupperware, or an empty mayonnaise jar filled with soiled underthings, I enthusiastically said yes.

A few days later a package arrived containing one of these;

It’s woolie, and snugly and as soon as I put it on, while making a small mid-morning snack, I looked like this;
And then when riding home from the gym I looked like this;

As you can plainly see, it’s suitable for many applications and can make one deliriously happy while engaged in them.

Truth be told, Surly sent me a men’s and women’s set of this jersey a couple weeks ago as prize fodder for last weekend’s Chuey shindig, and I was hard pressed to let them go, but alas, they put their trust in me, and as such, I had to the right thing and hand them off to drunken deviants;

Anyway, aside from the Bandit jersey, I’ve not wrapped up in woolen goodness that I’ve liked as much as I do this particular item in some time, and I thank Surly for their generosity. I plan on doing all manner of activity while wearing this, and see if it stands up to what I can throw down.

Secondly, you might recall my recent trip to Minneapolis during which time One On One Bicycle Studio hosted an installation of Shellac posters. It was during the opening night of this show that I had ulterior motives for one Kevin Murphy of Portland Design Works. He’d asked me to bid on one of the many posters they had on the auction block. Lucky for Kevin, we won the bid and after some Pay Pal nonsense, he finally wired me the money for his poster. Unfortunately for him he neglected to include a shipping fee, but fortunately for me, in lieu of shipping monies, he made up for it by sending me some goods.

Now, for years when working in a shop, I had the luxury of having access to a solvent tank, but for the last twelve years or so, I’ve been resigned to washing my chains off in a plastic bowl full of citrus cleanser. Inspired by having spent the day with Murph as he peddled PDW’s wares to local shops, I opted to have him send me one of their Mr. Sparkle™ chain cleaners;

The timing was right too, because just a few days previous I spent no fewer than three hours painstakingly detailing my Ritt-ay brand ‘Saüsberg’, scrubbing every inch of the baby. All I had left to direct my OCD towards was the chain, and as soon as it arrived, that’s what Mr. Sparkle™ and I got to doing.

For shop use, I would think that it would be a bit inefficient, as I would assume any shop worth their weight would have an aforementioned solvent tank, but for the home mechanic, this thing is gold.

Alls you gotta do is snap it apart;

Fill it with the biodegradable solvent of your choice, pop it on the chain, and give the crank a few turns;

My chain wasn’t as good as new, because as usual, it’s about a thousand miles past its expiration date, but it’s clean as a whistle, and as you know, a clean whistle is a happy one.

In closing, and speaking of happy whistles, our friends at Swobo done lost their minds with a current promotion they’re having which knocks twenty five percent off of any and all of their goods for the next twelve days;

That’s a quarter off these goods, or these goods, or even one of these.

With deals like these, Swobo’s like Crazy Eddie;

And it’s with that, that this week’s worth of shilling has come to an end.

I may be a ‘hoe, but ‘hoes got to eat too.

19 thoughts on “The truth is in black and white.

  1. True story: I entertained a job offer from a bike shop that not only has a storefront, but also has a huge on-line presence. Whilst doing the dime tour of the facilities, the gentleman who ran the establishment explained to me that they did not have a solvent tank, and that they were booked 10 days out for service. They used the plastic bowl method you mentioned above. I didn’t take the job, but not because of the tank/bowl imbalance, but rather because the gentleman who ran the establishment, was a douche.

  2. concerning swobo and jerseys and proprietary merino wool blends, i just am about ready for a new merino 753 jersey, i’ve almost worn out the one that i won in the naming contest a couple of years back,….ya, i sent the name in on twitter and they sent me a jersey…..just asking, bro. but i’m not greedy or nothing… they could send anything, something flashy tho’ cause i’m a flashy guy.

  3. It is very possible (and greener) to get by without a solvent tank. I would say the exception might be a mountain bike shop that sees a lot of crusted muck on drivetrains, but that’s not the case in an urban setting. A good dose of lube. the blower attachment on your compressor and some good ol’ shop rags can have your parts plenty clean and have the advantage of never COMPLETELY de-greasing your chain, which some think is a bad idea. Besides, there’s nothing that will make your bike shift better or your drivetrain last longer than a new chain, so when in doubt, swap it out. Your cogs will thank you.

    • You ever get some random college student’s hobo bike that’s had motor oil used as lube for god knows how many months? Hopelessly dirty chains aren’t found in urban settings? Excuse me while I say that observation is incorrect.

  4. Can’t say that a solvent tank isn’t “greener” than a bowl of solvent. Tank=reused/properly disposed of. Bowl=where do that solvent and all those rags go after that one bike?

  5. Goddamnit, I’m about to get into a technical discussion on AHTBM of all places. Stop solventing (not a word) your chain people! Throw some new lube on and give it a wipe every now and then. I have chains last forever with this method. Hell even ol Sheldon (RIP) agrees. Laziness is just efficiency with bad PR.

  6. I agree with everyone.

    My preferred method is that of Uncle Muscles, but this is because I use a thin, wet lube and clean (wipe down) my drivetrain somewhat frequently. If, as in Mr. Smith’s example, it is a hobo/undergrad or an overzealous (and is there any other kind) wax-based luber a solvent tank is a great help.

    In my dreams, I get to use the sonic one. In my life, I try to subtly foist that job off on the other wrenches.

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