Friday, November 6, 2009

Equipment: My new best friend - the sponge

I hate seat bags. They look dorky and distract from the beauty of the bike. Besides, most of the essential stuff you need can be carried in your jersey pockets. But lately, my pockets have been getting full. The latest addition: a sponge.

It occurred to me this morning that I really need something to wipe off the disgusting layer of mud that builds up on my morning rides and can't be simply washed away with a hose. Today, I had to use my hands to wipe it off my frame. As usual, the water truck that sprays down the roads got going earlier than I did. Also as usual, the truck was just soaking the dirt-encrusted streets without sweeping away the muck. There were two five-kilometer stretches of road that I had to ride on that were covered in what looked like chocolate milk. My shins were splotched with the stuff and my blue shoe covers quickly turned brown.

After my rides, I usually wash off my bike in the parking garage of my apartment complex, where there's a little car washing area with a hose. But the hose doesn't have any kind of a nozel so the water pressure is weak. It simply douses the bike with water, but doesn't really wash away any of the sticky filth. So, I'm going to have to start packing a sponge.

My pockets are already pretty full. I carry a small pump, two tubes, point-and-shoot camera and a zip lock bag with my mobile phone, hand wipes, tire irons, enough cash for a taxi ride home and laminated copies of my passport in case the cops want to stop me to do a routine ID check. But what can you do?

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