I try not to attach labels to people or things, as I think that is just wrong, but I think it is safe to say that I am a clean/neat freak. I’m not an anal clean freak–except for when I’m stressed–then the vacuum comes out twice a day. But, I feel more comfortably if things are tidy and neat. I’m getting better at not attacking the lone used spoon laying in my sink–I wait for a couple of other dishes to pile up before wasting water to wash them (okay okay, so a bowl added to the spoon is enough for me to start washing). From time away from training, I had color coordinated all my jackets and the rest of my clothes–not OCD at all.

And, I thought I was getting better at containing my need for order and cleanliness…Allowing used (but still clean) clothes to pile up on a chair in my room (folded, ofcourse).

But, I realized, the progress I have made in becoming less anal and neat-freakish disappears when my bike gets dirty.

I hate when my bike is dirty.

Which means any races that involve mud, dirt, and my bike, may never happen.

I had this realization upon returning from an amazing ride in the warmest weather I have felt all winter. Yes, it was 51 degrees out, and I had feeling in my fingers and toes. No, the water in my water bottle did not freeze on the ride. But, perhaps even worse, my bike was filthy at the end, due to the melting snow creating streams in the street, a mini mud slide that developed on my driveway, small rocks and debris all commingled with salt particles used during our snow storms.

Upon returning and riding up the mud slide of my driveway, thinking “ew ew ew ew” all the way from the main road to my door, I got off my bike and almost had a heart attack when I saw the state of my baby. Just two days prior i had a conversation with my coach’s significant other about cleaning a bike, and found it interesting to know that the guys at the shop will use Simple Green or Pledge to clean the bikes. For some odd reason I thought that was corrosive to the bike. Then again, my bike knowledge is next to nothing. “Nope, we use it all the time,” was his response.

With the horrible sight of my bike in such condition, I could not do anything else–or think of anything other than getting it clean. Yes, my clothes were muddy and my backpack had a trail of mud up the middle from the spray of my wheels, but all i could concentrate on was cleaning. And, yes, cross racers will probably think that the condition of my bike post ride was nothing compared to theirs after they compete in their races and scoff at my odd behavior. But, as you probably already realized, there is a reason why I may never partake in that type of racing.

For a second, I thought that hosing the bike off would be easier to clear away the mud, but alas, I have no idea where our hose is. So, I shed the mud crusted cycling attired and trudged through my house in search of cleaning spray. 7th Generation Lavender scented all-purpose spray would do the trick.

Now, I am by no means suggesting I have never cleaned my bike before–it’s my pride and joy, and I worry about it sometimes more than a sane normal person would. But I’ve never sat down with paper towels and cleaning spray to make sure every speck of mud or crusted salt was off of the frame, or gears, or spokes. I’m afraid to say that the mailman probably thinks I am a very odd creature after pulling up to give me my mail and find me cross legged on the front porch cleaning in between the tire and back brakes with a paper towel.

Front done, now onto the back

After about forty-five minutes of scrutinizing over the bike, it looked shinier and cleaner than ever, and now every time I pass it I cannot help but take a whiff of that lovely lavender smell.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Jessica Costello
    Feb 21, 2011 @ 19:58:58


    My name is Jess from the creative writing department of Gym Source.¬†I’m very interested in achieving a text link on your website.

    Please take a minute to consider¬†this and let me know how we can return the favor. If you have any questions in the meantime, don’t hesitate to send those along.

    I look forward to hearing back from you!


    Jessica Costello


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February 2011

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