Spring Riding in Maine

Wow! Two nice days in a row here in Maine. Yesterday it was 61 degrees when I headed out on my ride. Today it was 46 but it warmed up to 51 by the time I arrived home.

All this warm weather means the snow is melting, and melting FAST. Many of the cycling routes are very wet. The wet doesn’t bother me as much as all the sand you run through after the wet spots. The chain really makes a horrid noise from all the grit in it.

You really have to be careful of the water spots  – some of them are actually holes filled with water. I was lucky that I only hit one that was actually a hole today. I try to avoid those spots as much as possible but when there is traffic behind and you are further out in the road than normal, I don’t think the people behind me realize I’m just trying to avoid road hazards.

I’ve become accustomed to cleaning my bike after every ride. It really pays off during rides like today and yesterday. I started it last year when I received my new bike. It takes me normally 15 minutes to pop off the wheels and wipe down the frame and wheels. However, these days it takes me a bit longer. I have to drag out the hose and wash all the grime and salt off the bike. Then I wipe down the frame and wheels, and dry the chain and cassette.

There are obvious reasons for cleaning your bike after a wet/dirty ride and many don’t see the advantages to cleaning it after ride. That reason is simple: it gives you a chance to inspect your bike on a regular basis. A few minutes of cleaning allows you to check all parts of your bike. You’ll notice a nick here or there in the frame that wasn’t there a few days ago. (For me that’s always depressing but hey, it happens.) You’ll also notice anything that’s out of the norm with the working parts. It’s a good feeling knowing that you are riding a machine that you know is in good working order. There’s nothing worse than having a mechanical to ruin a nicely planned long ride, or worse – a race. A mechanical that could have been avoided from an extra 15 minutes spent at the end of the previous ride for a cleaning and inspection.

For me it’s that and more. I take pride in my bike and I like having it looking spiffy and clean.

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