When I first got Embrocation Cycling Journal volume 2, the first page I incidentally turned to was "The Art of the Bike Wash" by Radio Freddy. On the pages following the piece were pictures and two sentences:
"A clean machine is a PRO machine. Keep it PRO, keep it clean."
Sometimes I wish I'd never read that. Those words consistently come flooding back whenever I glance at my bike. But I'm really good at denial, so it wasn't until Jason pointed out that my rear tire was the "grayest white tire [he'd] ever seen," that I knew I had to do something.
But scrubbing my rims really did nothing but smear the brake dust everywhere, and while black tires would hide such nonsense, white [PRO] tires are much less forgiving. So when I made the ridiculously amateur move of rolling over gum, I also simultaenously found a way to whiten those strips of rubber.
I'm not going to go into detail here, but during one extremely embarrassing point in my life, I made out with a boy only to get his chewing gum all over my back. This taught me two things: 1. hook-ups are rarely worth the trouble, and 2. nail polish remover will always be my default go-to harsh chemical of choice.
So while Radio Freddy warns against using harsh chemicals, this is rubber we're talking about, not a Ti frame, so I went at the gum plastered on my tire with a cottonball soaked in nail polish remover. It did the trick, and then some. Because the tire ended up whiter.
And of course, more PRO. And with a trip to NYC planned, the sun finally shining, and a tire that looks more black than gray, I finally pulled on some gloves and gave my rear tire the same treatment [the gloves aren't really necessary unless you have nail polish on and you don't want to screw up your manicure]. I'm sure someone's going to tell me I just did the worst thing I could do to my tires, but clean tires are PRO tires. Even if that means I'm going to flat on the way downtown today.
Plus, unlike the worthless wtf-how-did-your-gum-get-all-over-my-fucking-back hook-up, at least this use of nail polish remover is going to end up in something positive. Well, for my bike. Unfortunately, I can't say I look nearly as PRO. Good thing there's a salon next to NYC Velo. Which means friends, espresso, a couch, bicycles, and a decent mani-pedi are within 20 ft of each other.
What more could a cyclist ask for?