Friday, September 9, 2011

I feel like I've forgotten something.....

As you might have heard, we've had a bit more rain in the northeast!   It's not been as bad in Boston as further inland,  but it rained constantly for about three days, and off and on two days before that.
I'm not big on riding in pouring rain,  and had to drive/ take the train for work,  so last night when I went out to saddle up and go grocery shopping,  I was shocked to find, that I'd left Gilbert locked to himself outside for FIVE days in the rain.   Poor Gilbert-  bad bike owner!

I do have an excuse, sort of.  The Scientist and I got married on Saturday, and it was a busy day.  I rode out first thing to do a quick errand, and locked up out in the back yard because I thought I might have to run out for another errand.  Then the day got away from me, and next thing I knew, we were loading flower arrangements and my dress into the scientist's car, and headed off to the venue, leaving poor Gilbert locked and alone.  I'm really glad first of all that he's still there,  as unsecured items do have a tendency to walk away in a dense urban neighborhood.   He was out of view of the street, which obviously helps a lot.

There are some who would say that a city bike is made to be left out in the rain,  and the assumption that the bike will get wet is the reason that I used frame saver, stainless steel hardware, and waterproof light fixtures.  However, I do try to cover both the saddle and the basket when I know the bike will get wet,  and that was obviously not the case this time.

I'm not sure what to do about the saddle- it was well treated with Obenauf's  and you can see a bit that the water is still beading up on it to a small extent.  I'm going to let it dry today in my office,  and this weekend will recoat it with Obenauf's  both top and bottom.   It feels mostly OK (rode with a plastic bag over it to avoid a wet butt though).   Anyone have suggestions for best care of a leather saddle after a thorough wetting?

I'll also treat the leather trim on the basket, and may park it in the sun, with the lid open to let it the inside dry out as much as possible.  I'll probably open up the chaincase, and give the chain a bit of extra lube this weekend too.

All things considered though the bike rode just fine-  the brakes didn't even squeal. I guess that it's true that a good city bike should be able to withstand all kinds of negligence and abuse.  On the other hand, I'd rather not test that theory too often


  1. Congratulations on your wedding!

    I have no advice for the leather other than let it dry.

  2. Congrats on the marriage,Gilbert will be okay.

  3. Congratulations on the wedding! May you have many long and happy years with both husband and bike. :)

  4. First off, congrats on getting hitched!!! Why am I not at all surprised that you managed to do bike errands on the very day of your wedding...

    As for your points about post-rain maintenance:

    Saddle: I don't worry much about saddle leather getting wet and then drying. However, putting weight on it when wet may cause it to stretch and/or deform. Hopefully it will retain its shape after having ridden with it wet. I wouldn't bother re-treating it once it's dried out.

    Ditto the basket. Wasn't it originally a fishing basket? It's supposed to get wet!

    As for the chain, unless you have panels missing from the chaincase, I wouldn't be surprised if the chain stayed perfectly dry. I wouldn't even bother re-lubing. The heat of the sun on the chaincase during the next couple of sunny days will be adequate to dry out the chain. The BEST way to dry out a chain after the rain is a good, long ride. Bushings rotate and disperse the wicked-in water away. Then the heat from the sun takes care of the rest.

    I left our "bike train" (Bike Friday tandem + Burley trailercycle) out in the rain for the same duration as Gilbert. No chaincase on this bike, and there were a few rust spots on the chain, in addition to some lingering water drops. Water was still dripping from the bike and there was condensation on many of the parts. One 2-mile ride this morning and the chain was dry, and even the surface rust on the bushings had rubbed off. Good as new!

    As an aside, I sometimes think that putting a bike away wet is worse then leaving it out to continue getting wet, especially if the storage location is a damp shed that gets no fresh air or sunshine to dry the wetness.

  5. Congratulations, as for the important stuff, lol, I would let the saddle and basket dry in the sun so they won't mold, and then apply neatsfoot oil to the leather parts, I use one of those disposable sponge tiped brushes.

  6. Thanks all!

    Benjamin, I'll never go back to neatsfoot after using Obenauf's. The smell is wonderful because of the beeswax, and it's the perfect consistency. It leaves my hands feeling soft and smelling good as an extra bonus!

    I know you're not supposed to use anything except proofride on a brooks, but I liked the consistency and smell and darkening effect of the Obenauf's.

  7. Congratulations : ))

    Having followed your link to my post, I saw that I wrote it in May - which means that my Gazelle has been outdoors for 4 months now. The only thing that's suffered has been the leather grips, which I do not keep covered up. The leather becomes pale and dry after repeated rain exposure, but then regains its colour naturally, from the oil in my hands (!) after the first couple of times I ride the bike post-rain. The saddle, which is the same as yours, I keep covered at all times.

    My main advice for a wet saddle would be to just let it dry out completely before you condition it with anything. Those B66/67s are pretty durable and tend to recover well. Good luck!

  8. That's good to know, Ima try the Obanauf's now,

  9. Mazeltov! Best wishes to you both; I'll look forward to reading all about the bike ride you take to celebrate your 50th anniversary.

  10. Congratulations! May I ask, will you keep the name Cycler, become another Scientist, or combine the names (e.g., Cycler-Scientist)?

  11. Congratulations!
    I wouldn't worry about the saddle, I've left my flyer out in the rain at work then ridden it home, it may have stretched a bit, other than that, it was fine.

  12. Let the Scientist know he's an extraordinarily lucky guy. None of the females in my household know diddly about plumbing!

  13. Congratulations on your marriage. I have been scoping out antique stores in Montana in search of Gilbert-style fishing creels to be repurposed as bike baskets. So far everything I've found has been way too expensive or too beat up. I suspect that trend-setting Gilbert has boosted demand for vintage creels.

  14. Late to the party, but congratulations!

    (you gonna eat this slice of cake?)

    And yeah, "let the saddle dry out first" is always good advice.

  15. Congratulations!!! Celebrate the good news, and Gilbert will be fine