I’m not exactly sure when it happened but I think it may have started around 2008 when we stopping riding our Erickson tandem bicycle — a beautiful glossy-white / silver / dark purple frame with polished aluminum bits that really needed to be cleaned after every ride — with a Calfee model made out of unpainted composites with black components.
The dark, matte-finish bike just didn’t show any dirt. Our individual bikes were also unpainted Calfees. These bikes would all go for months and hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles without looking as though needed to be cleaned. About the only time I thought to clean them was when I had to work on one, one got caught out in the rain, or I noticed a heavy build-up of grime.
I think it was about this same time I started to check the weather before washing my truck or my Debbie’s car. If one of them was dirty but there was rain in the 48-hour forecast, I’d just wait until the weather outlook improved. And so it went with my daily-commuter motorcycle, the 2003 BMW R1100S. Even though the BMW has a beautiful glossy white and blue paint scheme, it just didn’t make sense to wash it if it was just going to get filthy during a rain-soaked commute in the next 48-hours, so it too would go for a week or two without getting washed, and then three or four weeks, and then… geez, I kinda lost track of when I last washed the thing.
When I added our first Harley-Davidson motorcycle to the collection of rolling stock I thought I’d end up getting my bike-cleaning mojo back. Well, I kinda did… but not really. The tins were Harley’s glossy Vivid Black so those would always get a quick wipe down with detail spray before a ride. However, the Vivid Black rims and spoked wheels didn’t seem to look all that better when they were cleaned so unless we were down by the ocean where a daily washing was pretty much mandatory as a hedge against corrosion and surface rust, they didn’t get much love either. Sadly, the new addition — our 2013 Road King CVO — doesn’t get any special treatment either. I think the last time I cleaned it was on November 17th, before diving into the rewiring project as I’d gotten caught out in the rain on the 16th. Yes, I have no problem taking the CVO out when it’s raining: it’s just a motorcycle, not a trophy!
In some respects, this was probably a more normal approach to bike maintenance than my previous habit of washing a car or bike at least every Sunday, whether it needed it or not. However, with some time off around Christmas and pretty lousy weather outside I decided it would be the perfect time to give Debbie’s little car and all three motorcycles a well-deserved cleaning, spot polishing and a fresh coat of wax ahead of the new year. Well, yeah… it helps to have a garage with hot/cold running water and a floor drain! Although, I will confess that I went on the cheap with a K1 space heater as I never bothered to install the NG heater that the garage was also outfitted for.
Well, I almost got all three done… The Road King is about 1/2 way through the process, interrupted by other commitments on the 31st, football on the New Years Day and some other distractions, e.g., problems with a second-hand GoPro camera purchase (yeah, I’m pretty much the screw-ee in this deal) and the need to replace my 6-year old MacBook.
So, tomorrow I’ll try to knock that out as I also need to prep it for the arrival of some new parts that were custom painted to color match the Sapphire Blue base color. More on that in another update. As you can see, it’s up on the lift and sitting back in the bike bay so that I could put both cars in for the night: I think they’re predicting an overnight low of 20°F. Yeah, I’m thinking I’ll have the K1 space heater going again over the next few days. Perhaps I’ll need to heed the chiding that my friend Roger gave me and put that NG heater in this winter. It sure would be nice to just flip a switch and have a nice warm garage about 30 minutes later!