Sat with Nat

Calf tattoo and some goo

So there are 2 newbie things that have been annoying me cycling, easing myself up and down off my saddle and the seemingly permanent grease smear on my calf, no wait, CALVES. I have proportionately thick calves that touch so when I’m standing on the ground or mounting/dismounting my bike I get chain oil and dirt all over my calves. I put too much oil on and I didn’t know I’m supposed to be wiping my chain down after each ride. Did someone tell me this before? Oh probably but I’m not the most attentive and my recall is often spotty plus it seems like THERE IS SO MUCH TO LEARN. So some of the new information leaks out.

I knew I had to get a de-greasing solution soon as the teasing at work was getting heavy and it didn’t look very professional. Last weekend I had occasion to be at an auto parts shop and I knew there was an orange de-greasing product we used when I was in the military. Of course they had it but when I went to buy it the sales guy asked me what it was for and I told him removing my bike chain tattoo. “You want the cherry stuff, no really, it works better.” So I got a huge honking bottle that came with a scrub brush. “You won’t need the scrub brush, it works that good.” Oh it better Mister, because I have a lot of calf de-greasing to do.

As luck would have it, Mallory had scheduled a fun Sunday ride to break in her new touring bicycle. My youngest son Eric hopped on his new fixie he got from Randonneur Dave (his not so hidden agenda, get everyone on fixies doing randonneur brevets).


Eric in the park
Eric in the park

We met up with Mallory and my new friend Gary at the park and had a nice, easy ride about the park. When I got home I was so excited to see the double smear on my right calf and a small one on the left, time to try the cherry scented gojo!

a big bottle of goo and a smeary calf
a big bottle of goo and a smeary calf

So a quick pump and a dab of water and I’m getting skeptical…

This could be going horribly wrong
This could be going horribly wrong

But it worked like gangbusters and my calf was properly clean in about 15 seconds. No more bike chain tattoos for me!

My regular non-greasy calf
My regular non-greasy calf

Oh and Eric had a hoot on his fixie and totally passes me on the uphills, the stinker.

8 thoughts on “Calf tattoo and some goo

  1. I’m impressed with the gojo. I had grease all over my hands last night after changing my tire and I could have used a product. For the record I had no idea we were supposed to wipe the chain after every ride and ice never added grease because I don’t know how or how much. I’m supposed to go out in my road bike for the first time of the season today and already I’m afraid and doing that thing where I look out the window and hope for rain. You are doing so well and learning so much on the road bike, and you seem to be enjoying yourself (do you ride Ethel to work?). I’m a little bit envious! But happy for you at the same time!

    1. Chat with me about chain lube sometime. There’s different kinds and some are a lot less bother than others.

    2. I don’t ride to work, it only saves me a couple minutes and, honestly, morning commuting traffic scares the crap out of me so I walk.

  2. No one tole us either. We did the same thing and we got in trouble from the bike mechanic for being too greasy. Embarrassing!

    1. I’m sure I’ve been told…more than once! But honestly I do forget 90% of what people have told me over the past 6 months, there’s only so much new information that a person can assimilate and retain.

  3. There’s a green powdered hand-scrubby stuff called Works that is even better than Gojo. MEC carries it. Bonus: since it is dry, it weighs almost nothing and you can keep a little container of it in your saddlebag 🙂

    Baby wipes also work frighteningly well on grease marks – it’s because they have oil in them as well as soap.

    Use a lighter chain lube (I use Pro Gold) as well as wiping your chain down frequently, and you won’t get as much general grunge, goo, soot, and small furry animals stuck to your chain. I find that “wet lube” products advertised for wet weather use are much too sticky and contribute to the grunge buildup. A lighter machine oil will go in between the little plates of the chain, where it needs to be for lubrication, and just leaves a thin skim of oil on the outside parts where it protects from rust. You don’t need more than that.

    Orontas, a company based in Toronto, makes a bike chain cleaner that comes in a spray bottle. It is plant based and very effective. Follow that with a light run of lubricant and your chain will be shiny and happy.

    Your chain will also last a lot longer if it is clean – and so will all the bike parts it comes in contact with, because it’s carrying road grit and grunge along with it and basically grinding the teeth of the cogs and chainrings into new and exciting shapes. Bike shops can measure your chain’s degree of wear, or sell you a nifty little tool to do it yourself. Chains should be replaced *before* they reach 1mm spread across 5 links – after that point they’ll take the cassette down with them, and it starts getting expensive. (Symptoms of chain wear include a lot of skipping and jumping when you go to change gears).

    I clean and lube my chain once or twice a week, or whenever it makes a noise i can hear. I hate noisy chains!

    1. I’m with you. I use pro gold and usually pay some attention to my chain every week. There’s no need to use heavy duty lube if you aren’t riding in bad weather.

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