When I dropped my bike off at the shop today, the mechanic looked at me like, Really?

My bike is dirty. Real dirty. All the time. Mind you, my chain is clean and if it makes a sound on a ride, it gets the treatment when I’m done, before I even walk into the house. But my bike? Crusted. It’s only when I bring it into the shop that I even notice (and I only remember as I’m wheeling it in and thinking, Ah crap. I forgot to wash my bike again).

I can’t be the only one. I mean, I ride… often. I’m never in race shape, but I’m usually riding twice or three times a week. In the twenty-plus years I’ve been hitting the trails, the mountain bikes I’ve owned- three GT’s, a Giant, a Trek, and my current Canfield Bros. “the One”- all lasted me years. Long enough to make me want an upgrade bad enough to drop thousands of dollars I hated to part with each time. And I punish my bikes. We punish them. I mean, it’s what they’re made for right? So can an admirable crust of earth hurt that much if each of my bikes have lasted that long?

If there’s a downside to mountain biking (besides the uphill… I’ve only ever ridden up for the express purpose of going down) it’s the amount of time an entire ride takes sometimes. Especially if you have to tack on a few miles of road before you hit your local spot or you’re driving to your destination for that day’s adventure. I realize for many gung-ho noobies (I was one once) and some weekend warriors, an all-day adventure is exactly what they love. I do too sometimes.  I would guess though, that most mountain bikers who’ve ridden for a long time, and many just in general, love the sport in a more subdued, subtle way and consider it a part of a full day, versus the crux of the full day. Anyway, after two to six hours of riding, the last thing I want to do when I get home is wash my rig. Especially when I’m going to get it dirty again in a couple days. So there it sits, much-loved but ignored when not in use, much like my unmade bed (which after a childhood of having to make it says something about nature versus nurture, or at least practicality winning).

Really though, I made it sound like it’s a conscious choice to not wash my bike and it’s not. It literally doesn’t cross my mind until I’m walking sheepishly into my local bike shop with my adobe-sculpture-on-wheels that I remember.  Do you remember?  Does it cross your mind?  Or did it used to, and you can recall the point in your life at which you said, “Ahhhh, forget it. I’m riding again in two days anyway.”  Or is your bike pristine, and I’m just Pig Pen on wheels?

I guess I wanted to apologize to all those mechanics out there who’ve had to break out the hammer and chisel to do me a solid. It is appreciated.



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