As proof that will cover just about any form of cycling related adventures, here is Jon Anderson's very tongue in cheek advice on bike maintenance. Kids, don't try this at home!

The Pennzoil Solution

By Jon Anderson

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Maintenance free cycling
Photo: © Jon Anderson

It takes a very particular, and somewhat peculiar, individual to properly maintain a finely tuned racing bicycle. Many riders spend hour after hour in pursuit of cleanliness, purity, and mechanical efficiency.

They meticulously disassemble, clean, tension, wax, torque, polish, and reassemble sleek, radiant, highly-strung, two-wheeled, racing steeds. Cable adjustments are solemn rituals that require considerable concentration, dedication, and focus-as if life itself depended on clean, crisp index shifting.

This labour of love spawns an all-encompassing euphoria. Awestruck by their own handiwork-the exquisite curve of the frame; taut, tight cabling; pristine precision gearing and the subtle glow radiating from the hi-gloss, polished metal surfaces-they are immersed in the moment, a nearly orgasmic moment of self-serving, self-induced immaculate deception.

These bicycle supermodel wannabes are marked creatures; their innate propensity toward order and structure simply cannot be subdued. Any rider who summons the devotion and dedication required to maintain the high-tech components and materials the bicycle manufacturers blatantly rip-off from the aerospace industry has innate tendencies that can not be turned off. These riders have an intrinsic lust for order and conformity that often manifests itself as an uncontrollable desire to iron one's socks prior to use.

You can spot these fanatics from quite a distance. The ironed socks are a giveaway. If, for some perverse reason, inspecting someone's feet is not your bag, then simply cast your sunglass shaded eyes across their spotless bicycles. Or listen; nothing; but the sounds of those silent cyclists breaking the wind.

Somehow, a few riders in the peloton always manage to elude this innate fascination with mechanical components, cleanliness, and creased socks. I'm not one of those. I reserve the first weekend in November each year to wash my bike. Some years. I have never ironed a sock. I prefer to think of my sock drawer as lucky dip, and it is a fortuitous day indeed when I withdraw two that match, in colour or design. When your time is up, you don't get extra credit because your bike was clean or your socks ironed. My position is firm. We ride the bike; we don't sleep with it! For a start, the geometry is all wrong…..

However, when I ride with the aforementioned freakoids, which I do regularly, my bicycle stands out like the mangy, gray-haired, still hanging on to the back of the wolf pack rig that it is. And yet, knowing as I do, that it doesn't really matter, I let these obsessive compulsives get to me. In order to preserve my dignity and self-esteem it became necessary to suppress the whines, screeches, and wails emitting from the inner recesses of my bike.

In pursuit of an effective solution that would not require any additional time commitment, on my part, I conducted extensive research and experimentation. Almost obsessive of me, really.

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And talk about economical!.
Photo: © Jon Anderson

This research exposed a remarkable discovery-the liberal use of lubrication quelled the moans and groans originating from my ride. When I refer to lubrication, I'm not talking about the fashionable, trendy, specially designed and formulated White Lightning, Pedros, or Tri-Foil lubricants that you apply to chain, cables, and hardware using a syringe-type applicator in accordance with a four-page, full-color instruction manual.

Instead, I direct your attention to the Pennzoil Solution-30 weight motor oil! Set aside that hoity-toity, over-engineered, Teflon-based, designer lubricant; pick up a quart, or two, of Pennzoil SAE 30. Pennzoil is effective, economical, and available nationwide. For two bucks, you get a quart of multi-use lubricant that can be used on either your chainsaw or your bicycle drive train. And, a quart of Pennzoil, reserved exclusively for drive train lubrication, will easily last you four to five years. Once you've acquired a quart of lubricant, application of 30-weight motor oil to a bicycle drive train is a straightforward three-step process.

Firstly, position your bike in an area free of carpet, rare paintings, and items that would depreciate considerably if bathed in motor oil. Next, dump the oil on the chain, look away, squeeze your eyelids shut tight, spin the cranks up to speed, and let her rip. The oil penetrates the entire drive train in under a minute. No fuss; no bother, no need to degrease, degunk, or clean the chain. Finally, take a rag and wipe up some of the excess oil that blew off the drive train onto the floor, the walls, and the ceiling during the application process. Smear this oil into the cables, cableways, and any other hardware that requires lubrication. Complete.

While 30 weight lubrication is extremely effective, after each application please consider the following: Friction is inversely proportional to dental bills-failure to clean the rims after lubing the drive train could have catastrophic results. Rims coated in motor oil eliminate the requisite friction that is so essential should you find it necessary to slow down or stop. Blasting into dead-man's-curve at 50+ miles per hour is not the best time to discover that rubber brakes pads pressed against oil soaked rims generate absolutely no friction, no matter how hard you pray. And, friction failure is the leading cause of the Warm-Cold Syndrome induced by the subsequent-sudden and immediate-loss of all bladder control. However, the possibility of friction failure induced by human error is an inconsequential risk when compared with the peace of mind and longevity induced by a well-oiled drive train. For those riders with a willingness to take a risk and a desire to save face among fanatical peers and egotistical riding partners while limiting the time spent on bicycle maintenance to under ten minutes per season, the Pennzoil Solution is quintessential. The abundance of 30 weight motor oil, in the public sector, will keep your bicycle purring along without dedicating a significant chunk of your life to repair or maintenance.

Quick, simple; effective-coat everything with motor oil; then clean the rims-The Pennzoil Solution!