Jul 4, 2006

washing the bike...

if i had the choice of only riding my bike or only washing my bike, i would, of course, choose riding it. with that said, i do like having a clean bike... and i finally got around to washing my bike today...

now i didn't have any help like this while i was washing my bike, which was probably a good thing because i don't know if i would have gotten it as clean. hmmmm, maybe i can talk my wife into helping... the bike would never get cleaned!!!



help or no help, it was nice to finally clean the bike. it's been a long time since it's been cleaned and it really needed it. one thing for sure, i'm going to try not to let it go this long without cleaning again.

it took me about four hours from rolling it out of the garage to rolling it back in. but that was putzing along, too... started by putting it up on the jack and stripping off the saddlebags, tour-pak, windshield and other accessories. then taking a break!! i started with the tires. which are laced and whitewall. wide whitewall!!! i really like the look of the wide whitewalls on a bike. i hate cleaning them. but i like the looks more than i hate cleaning them, so i've decided to keep them. the longest part of cleaning the bike, other than waxing the whole bike, it cleaning the tires. i start by cleaning the whitewalls, with a brillo pad. not sure if that's good for them or not, but i haven't noticed or had any problems. i almost tried a scotch-brite pad this time, but opted not to. i guess it's because i didn't want to find out they don't work. maybe next time. after cleaning the whitewalls, i move on to the spokes. i admit it's not the best job i could possibly do, but it's good enough for me.

once the tires are done, i move on to washing the whole bike. that's pretty easy - the key being to make sure i rinse the wash off the bike thoroughly. if i don't, it leaves streaks, which i either have to go back and wash again, or work extra hard to wax out. i go fifty-fifty on going back to wash or just waiting until i wax.

after washing, it's time to dry the bike. i use my shop-vac and blow the bike dry. this takes longer than i think it should. it seems you should just be able to dry/blow the water off the bike and be done. but no, the water likes to hide in all the nook and crannies, waiting to drip onto some other surface you've already dried. either that or i spend ten minutes trying to get all the water out of a single area. it just seems like this should go a lot smoother. and quicker...

then it's on to waxing the bike. i probably spend the most time and care waxing my bike. this is when i really get it clean. and the waxing probably gives me the most satisfaction. it's also when i notice all the new dings and scratches on the bike. i've noticed i'm becoming less and less anal about those... it used to bother me because i wanted to keep the bike pristine. but in order to do that, i really can't take it out of the garage. and how much fun would a bike be if you never rode it?? so i'm resolving myself to the fact that it's going to happen... a case in point is my ambivalence towards the crappy chrome on one of my exhaust tips. the chrome on top of one of the tips had started to flake. i've been debating with myself about what to do... should i say something to the dealership and see if they replace it?? i could just as simply buy a new one - although i really don't want to spend the money. i could also turn it over so the flaking is on the bottom and not noticeable. and what have i done?? nothing. so i guess i'm accepting that crap is going to happen and i can't get wrapped up about it.

once the bike is waxed, it's time to do the leathers. which, i haven't done yet. i can do those some other time - maybe later today or tomorrow. oh, and the windshield. i have to clean the windshield. and put everything back on the bike. i'll need to do that before i go riding... but that doesn't take long...

so there it is, cleaning my bike. i really like riding a clean bike. not that i wouldn't ride a dirty bike. there's just something about riding a clean bike. maybe it's pride. after all the work of cleaning the bike, i take a lot of pride in the way it looks.