The following article is from EcoVelo Blog, and can be found in it's original post here:

Greasy chains can be a real annoyance for bike commuters who ride in business attire. Sure, it’s simple enough to use a cuff strap or tuck a pant leg into a sock, but if you’re a numbskull like me, you still eventually manage to get grease on the cuff of every pair of khakis in your closet. Full chain cases are the obvious solution, but not everyone wants a chain case. Another approach is a belt drive, but again, we’re talking a specialized bicycle. What many people may not realize is that a perfectly clean running chain lube has been available all along.

Chain Waxing
Wax makes an excellent chain lube. It runs extremely clean and it seems to be good for chains. Chain waxing is nothing new (here’s
an old article by Grant Petersen on chain waxing from 1992). I’ve waxed my chains on-and-off going all the way back to the 1980′s. There are those who claim a waxed chain will not last as long as a chain lubricated with modern synthetic oils (probably the manufacturers of those products), but anecdotal evidence seems to support the contrary. Personally, I’ve put what I’m guessing to be 10,000 miles on a waxed chain, and I’ve seen claims of up to 15,000 miles. Whatever the numbers, it seems waxing is sufficiently effective to assuage any concerns about bicycle chain life. The obvious downside to chain waxing is that it’s a bit of a process, so if your chain maintenace method consists of dribbling a little oil on your chain every few weeks and calling it good, the waxing process may may be too much and you can stop right here. But, if you’ve had it with greasy chains and you’re interested in an alternative, read on!

First you’ll need a 1lb. block of paraffin, available at most grocery stores as “
canning wax“, or at craft stores as “premium candle wax” (not to be confused with bee’s wax). You’ll also need either two pots to use as a double boiler, a real double-boiler, or an old crock pot. It’s also nice to have an old spoke or a wire coat hanger handy for fishing the chain out of the hot wax when the time comes.

Here’s the process:

  1. The first time you use the hot wax method you’ll want to sanitize your drivetrain before starting (you’ll only need to do this once). Remove the chain and strip it using your favorite biodegradable degreaser (my favorite method is to fill an old plastic soda bottle 1/4 of the way with Simple Green, feed the chain in the top, put on the cap, shake like crazy, let it soak for 10 minutes, shake like crazy again, then rinse the chain thoroughly with water). While the chain is drying, scrub your chainrings and rear cogs. Use whatever method you’d like, just make sure everything is squeaky clean and dry or the wax will pick up and absorb the oily gunk that was leftover, defeating the purpose.
  2. Heat the block of wax in your double-boiler or crock pot. [CAUTION: Paraffin is flammable. Attempting to melt paraffin on the stovetop without the use of a double boiler may cause a fire! —ed.] Once the wax is completely melted and is about the consistency of water, turn the heat down a bit and carefully place your chain in the wax. You’ll notice bubbles emanating from the chain; these bubbles are the air that’s being forced out of the inner pockets of the chain by the wax (this is good!). Let the chain stew for about 15 minutes; the wax will adhere better if the chain gets up to about the same temperature as the wax. Once you’re convinced the chain is sufficiently saturated, turn off the heat and wait another 15 minutes for the wax to partially cool and thicken to the consistency of syrup.
  3. Using your old spoke, fish the chain out of the wax and hang it up to drip dry (this is best done outside). If done carefully, you won’t lose a drop of wax and your significant other won’t kill you for dripping paraffin everywhere. Once the chain is hanging, use a clean, coarse rag to wipe the excess wax from the chain.
  4. You can either just leave the remaining wax in the pot to harden for use on another day, or if you’re the frugal type, you can reheat the wax and pour it through cheesecloth into another container to filter out any dirt and grease particles that were picked up during the process. If you choose to forgo the filtering process, you’ll get 4-5 uses out of a batch of wax before you need to replace it.
  5. Reinstall your chain and enjoy the clean, silent ride of wax!

The first time out you’ll notice some wax flecks on your bike and the chain may slip a bit; both will subside as the excess wax flakes off.

Expect to get anywhere from 400-600 miles per wax job, depending upon your local conditions (just like with any lube, the nastier the conditions, the sooner you’ll have to re-apply). Be sure to re-wax your chain as soon as it starts squeaking.

Straight paraffin works well in dry conditions, but you may need to add a little Teflon (PTFE) impregnated oil such as Slick 50 to increase its effectiveness in wet conditions. One or two tablespoons of oil per 1 lb. of wax is plenty. Grant Petersen advocates mixing paraffin with bee’s wax at an 80/20 ratio. Whatever your flavor, adding anything to pure paraffin will increase its stickiness while reducing cleanliness.

Very few people still use this antiquated method to lube their chains, and it’s certainly not for everyone, but if you like the idea of a super-clean, greaseless, yet well-lubed drivetrain, you might give it a try sometime.

 
 
 
What drivers can do to be more cyclist aware Chris Gidney and Alex Margolis
November 10, 2011

Before we begin, this isn’t an anti-driving post, we’re not lambasting drivers. As much as drivers need to be more cyclist aware, follow road rules and drive safely, vice versa also applies!   Learn to share As a car driver you may think the road belongs to you, but nobody owns the road. Everyone has a right to pass and re-pass on public highways. By law, a bicycle is a vehicle, so treat it like one.   Appreciate that cyclists are helping you Counter-intuitive to what you may believe, cyclists actually reduce congestion on the roads by not driving cars. They ‘re reducing the time you spend in traffic jams as they’re taking up so much less space. Cyclists have a phrase for this, often seen on t-shirts and posters: One Less Car.   Avoid dooring cyclists It’s illegal! It can also be fatal, and happens more than you’d expect. Don’t  open any doors without checking there aren’t any cyclists behind you. You could easily sweep them clean off their bikes and it won’t be pretty. Think about the breadth of your door, it’s easily 1-1.5m wide.

  Realise cyclists are vulnerable You’re driving a vehicle hugely heavier and more powerful than theirs. In any impact, they will be the losers. Perhaps it’s best we take after most other European countries which operate ‘strict liabilty’. These regulations result in the motorist’s insurance usually being deemed to be responsible in any crash involving a cyclist. In the same way that a cyclist would be at fault in a smash with a pedestrian. With the driver always at fault in any accident, driver’s become evidently more cautious around cyclists.   Helmets don’t equal guaranteed safety  Of course they’re definitely worth wearing, it’s just that drivers often think a cyclist with a helmet is 100% safe. Well, they’re not.   A helmet is designed to withstand head-on impacts of no more than 13mph! Some cyclists choose not wear to wear helmets and studies show they are given more caution by drivers. A cyclist with a helmet, however, is by no means invincible.
  Exercise some caution and be patient 90% of cyclist casualties in recent years were caused by careless inattention, firstly by drivers, secondly by cyclists (nidirect.gov.uk) It’s your responsibility to avoid hitting the cyclist, not the responsibility of the cyclist to avoid getting hit by you.    Pay attention and be on the lookout for cyclists at all times, especially when reversing. Use your mirrors as cyclists may overtake slow-moving traffic on either side. They may sometimes need to change direction suddenly, so just be aware of this and observe any indications they give such as looking over their shoulder. Don’t  tempt them into taking risks or endanger them.  
  Allow plenty of space When overtaking a cyclist you’re required to give them as much room as you would a car. They may need to swerve to avoid hazards. Always anticipate that there may be a pothole, oily, wet or icy patch or some other obstruction. Cyclists endanger themselves by cycling in straight lines!    Don’t drive too close behind a cyclist as you may not be able to stop in time if they come off their bike or do something abruptly. Unless you have an entire clear, empty lane in which to pass, slow down and wait until there is room to pass. Pass them slowly!   Drive slowly on low-vis roads On rural roads or those with limited visibility remember that a cyclist could be around the next corner. It could also be an elderly person, a child or an animal. Reducing your speed reduces the risk of something happening.    You can’t see ahead of hills and curves, slow down as you don’t know what’s on the other side. Make sure you can stop the car at all times. At night the need to do so is more exaggerated. You need time for the headlights to shine on the road ahead and recognise that there’s something there.   Cyclists have a right to claim the lane That’s correct. They have as much right as you do to take up the entire lane. You may think they’re being utterly selfish by doing so, but in fact they’re preventing having an accident. They really aren’t trying to slow you down, it’s just the safest way for them to cycle particularly if there’s a blind bend, a narrowing of the road, a high risk junction, pinch point or traffic lights ahead. Additionally if there’s a narrowing of the road, they’re stopping you squeezing through far too cosily beside them.   Cyclists should never cycle in the gutter as it gives no room for avoiding obstacles and leaves them no room to fall if an accident occurs, meaning they could go straight under your wheels. Not nice.  
  Beware a left turn Turning left is how most accidents occur. A cyclist may sneak up, perfectly legally, beside you while you’re waiting impatiently at a red light. It’s not at all illegal for cyclists to filter on the left or right of lanes but it is often difficult to spot them, especially when hidden by your blind spot. You’ll hit the cyclist as they carry straight on and you’ve made a left right into them. Also be vigilant when pulling out of a side street, or car park.    Get on a bike! Not until you experience what it’s like to be a cyclist on a busy road will you truly be able to empathise with them and realise how careless drivers can be at times. Cyclists can too be careless, but it usually ends in them getting hurt, not you!


Chris Gidney is a keen cyclist and technician at SRAM.  Alex Margolis is the co-founder of carbuzz
A big thanks to Carlton Reid for helping edit the post
 
 
This is an excellent example of one idiot on a bike making all cyclists look bad. Thank you for nothing, you stupid jerk!
 
 
It's Movember! It's that time of year when men get together (figuratively) and grown their mustaches (Mo's) for a good cause! Please click the link below, and donat

http://mobro.co/papabear7
 
 
I love the comic strip "Frazz". This morning the strip was quite appropriate for me!
 
 
This post is taken word-for-word from fogsl.org. It was a fascinating story, and I'm totally wanting to do this now!

It began the way I believe many bicycle tours do, or at least should. I was aimlessly studying a map of the state when I saw a dirt road that connected to a gravel road, which led to the railroad tracks, which could be followed to this road, which winds its way up to that county road, which-ah hah. I had just discovered that it's possible to ride all the way around Great Salt Lake. ‘Discovered' may be too strong a word, but I don't think so. I bounced the idea off a few non-cyclist buddies, to which the general reply was "The military owns the land out there and they'll never let you through." In January I took a drive out there and found a public road that went through the Air Force property, so I knew it was possible.

Next I tried the idea on some cycling friends. When invited, they just stared at me incredulously and finally said "no." Finally I asked Mark Muir, whom I met in Seattle three years ago. He was another Utah expat who missed the stark desolation of the Great Basin as much as I did so it was easy to convince him to come. That's how it began, two Utah natives setting out to rediscover the bastard-child of Utah's natural resources. We were ready to take on what may be the first circumnavigation of Great Salt Lake by bicycle. We wanted to see the lake for what it is and for what our society has done to it. We wanted to feel the desolation of the desert and see the impact of the industries along the shoreline. We wanted to swat the flies and smell the stink.

And we needed to do it all in one weekend, which led to the name of our expedition: Ride around Great Salt Lake in one weekend, or RAGSLOW.

Friday Our first day of riding set the theme for the entire ride. We spent most of Friday afternoon hastily mounting racks and panniers to our bikes and packing them with gear. Our 2:00 pm departure time was pushed back to 6:30 that evening. We had wanted to get in about fifty miles that day but were happy to make it to the Great Salt Lake State Marina just west of Saltair. On the way we met up with a group of six riders from the Bonneville Bicycle Touring Club. We rode with them for several miles and told them about our trip. As we arrived at Saltair and said goodbye, one of them portended "I hope you have enough water." So did we.

Saturday If Friday's late start was a dark cloud looming on the horizon, then Saturday's ride was the tempest in her fury. We paid for our hasty preparation all day long.

The problems started before we left the marina. My front tire was flat. I had Slime® in my tubes so I thought I could just pump it up and continue. I made it about a hundred yards before it went flat again. The slime was the problem. Some of it had dried up in the stem, preventing the stem from sealing properly.

I laid my bike on its side without removing the panniers to change the tube. The weight of my load must have bent my rack slightly because when I started riding again my fender was rubbing on the rear tire. I fiddled with it for another fifteen minutes before I gave up and removed the fender. I strapped it on top of my panniers next to my defunct Slime® tube.

The goal of our ride was to circle the lake by riding as close as practical to the shoreline. So this meant we took the road along the railroad tracks just north of Interstate-80. It seemed like a good idea based on our map.

About five miles down this rocky road the interstate bends to the south around the lakeshore while our road continued straight. There was water on both sides of us and we were engulfed by a flock of seagulls. Somehow over the noise of the birds Mark heard some jarring noises coming from his rack. One of the bolts that held the rack to the frame had vibrated loose. Well-prepared bicycle tourists have extra bolts stowed away for this sort of emergency. We borrowed one of the bolts holding on Mark's water bottle cage instead.

My rack had the same problem a few minutes later. This was the first of four times that my rack came off that day. My bike doesn't have braze-ons on the seat stays for mounting a rack so I used some pipe clamps purchased at a hardware store. I'd used this method on several tours before; in fact, I was using the same clamps from previous tours. When my rack started making noises I saw that I had not only lost a bolt down near the hub, but one of my pipe clamps had broken too.

I used the bolt from the broken pipe clamp to replace the bolt I had lost on the rack. Then I connected both frame supports to the one remaining pipe clamp. Once again, well-prepared bicycle tourists have extra pipe clamps stowed for emergencies like this.

When I-80 rejoined the railway we decided to leave the rocky railway access road and ride on the freeway. Here Mark discovered the first of two broken spokes his rear wheel suffered. Well-prepared bicycle tourists have extra spokes stowed for emergencies like this. This time we were prepared with extra spokes.

We rode about twenty miles on the freeway and got honks of support from a passing car with a bike rack on the roof. We turned north on the road to Rowley and the US Magnesium plant with its thick yellow cloud of chlorine gas. US Magnesium removes magnesium chloride from Great Salt Lake water to produce magnesium metal. In the process they release millions of pounds of chlorine into the atmosphere and are the top producer of dioxins in the country, according to EPA's 2004 Toxics Release Inventory. We were happy to have tailwind blowing the toxic plume away from us as we approached.

North of US Magnesium we turned west again and climbed over Wrathall Pass in the Lakeside Mountains. The last pipe clamp holding on my rack broke on the way down the pass. My panniers dragged on the road before I could stop. Some guys in a Union Pacific truck stopped as we were fixing it to see if they could help. We had the rack reattached by then and didn't need help, so they warned us that some Indians were camping near Lakeside, about 20 miles away. I don't know what they meant by that, but we were going to camp at Lakeside anyway.

With the gear problems we'd had you might think we staggered the last 20 miles into lakeside to set up camp. But that's not how it happened. The dirt road through the military land was smooth like pavement. The sunset was brilliant and the Indians turned out to be Basque sheepherders. We set up our tent between the railroad tracks and Strong's Knob, one of the small islands in the lake. We cooked cheese ravioli and watched the Avocets feeding on the shore. The noise of the wind and passing trains kept us awake for a while but soon exhaustion set in and we slept.

Sunday On Sunday we turned west from Lakeside toward Hogup Siding and the pumping station built after the 1983 flood to control the lake level. We rode on another rocky railroad causeway and were again passed by some Union Pacific workers in a truck. They stopped and asked "Are you lost?" This was a legitimate question considering how out of place we must have looked. I smiled and asked "is this the way to Wendover?" In hindsight, I should have asked them for some water.

We chose to ride a dusty two-track along the lakeshore instead of an improved road through the Hogup Mountains because we wanted to stay within sight of the lake. The dusty two-track had been trampled by cows and was the roughest road we rode on the whole trip. We could have walked as fast as we were riding. We questioned passing up the improved road through the mountains, but our reasons for undertaking this adventure were views of the lake and the desolation. This dusty two-track gave us both.

Our water supplies were running low when we finally met up with an improved dirt road west of Dolphin Island. We left Salt Lake City carrying about six liters of water each and were lucky to have camped at the State Marina on Friday night where they had running water. We were twenty miles from the ghost town of Kelton, which our map said had a flowing well. Thankfully, road to Kelton was straight and smooth otherwise we might have run out of water.

I had an inch of water in my bottle when we arrived at the Kelton cemetery. Mark's water bottle was half full. We strolled through the cemetery and read the historical signs put up by the Bureau of Land Management before we looked for the well. We figured it would be an island of greenery in this sea of sage. Instead it was a mirage. The well was still there, but it was full of cobwebs. I couldn't see water down in the pipe, and had nothing to retrieve it if any was there. We had to continue east to Locomotive Springs, fifteen miles away.

Some teenagers in a pickup truck drove by and gave us their last bottle of water. I drank half of it before they had driven out of sight. It made the last few miles to the springs easier.

After pumping water from Locomotive Springs we rode east along the historic railroad grade to Monument Rock. We camped that night on the salt flats at the base of the rock and contemplated riding across the smooth surface all the way to Promontory Point.

Monday We woke up early Monday morning to a light rain and the necessity of riding all the way to Salt Lake City before nightfall. We had twenty miles of gravel road over the Promontory Mountains before we got to Golden Spike National Historic Site and paved roads. We didn't spend long at Golden Spike because we were looking forward to a huge lunch at Idle Isle in Brigham City, the third oldest restaurant in Utah.

Our stomachs were slightly distended when we rode out of Brigham City so we labored through the first few miles of highway 89 through Perry, Willard, Plain City and Hooper. We made one last stop at the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve southwest of Clearfield where The Nature Conservancy has preserved 4,000 acres of marshes, ponds and mudflats with a mile-long boardwalk running through them to a 30-foot observation tower overlooking the lake. It's a peaceful place for birders, kids and cyclists.

The last 25 miles were a race against the sun with North Temple in downtown Salt Lake as the finish line. We crossed it shortly after 8:00 that evening, shook hands in front of Crown Burgers and sprinted for the light rail. People on the train looked at us a little funny. I wanted to explain to them what we had just done, but I thought they would not understand the significance of it. Something inside us had turned around. We set out to rediscover an underappreciated natural resource. We had seen the treasures of Great Salt Lake and experienced the harsh realities of its stark landscape. We had felt the desolation and knew the irony of being parched on the shore of a desert oasis. Yet we already longed to be out there again. We had turned the pedals but it was the lake that had turned on us to show us its unique beauty. 
 
Miles ridden

Friday - Salt Lake City - Great Salt Lake State Marina 22

Saturday - Great Salt Lake State Marina - Lakeside 74

Sunday - Lakeside - Monument Rock 71

Monday - Monument Rock - Salt Lake City 131 

  Total - 298

 
 
I love it! Too bad I'm at work right now, and not out on my bike.

-Papa Bear
 
 
Vehicle use is much like a narcotic, while it does have it's uses, over-use is bad for your health. It can be intoxicating to some. It can cause weight gain, drowziness, fatigue and dependence. Once you are hooked, it becomes difficult to stop use.

If you feel you may be addicted to automobiles, please see your local bike shop. Remember... vehicles... use only as directed.
 
 
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