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Gear Prudence: There’s been a really nice bike locked to a street sign outside of my building for the past week. I swear it hasn’t moved at all, but it doesn’t look abandoned. Normally, I wouldn’t really care, but this bike is too nice to be locked outside and I’m worried that eventually a thief will notice. Is there any way to find the owner and warn him not to leave such a nice bike outside this long? —Looking Out, Obviously Troubled
Dear LOOT: GP has a similar problem with a Mercedes parked around the corner. It just sits there for days on end and it’s not even locked to a street sign! An unscrupulous soul with larcenous intent might purloin it, and GP would be left wondering if knocking on nearby doors asking “Is this your car? Bring it inside!” might have yielded a less awful outcome. But this is a flawed analogy. Unlike a car, a bike left too long on the street is more likely to be stolen. Other than a 24-hour stakeout (always a good pretense to buy night vision goggles), the best play is to duct tape an anonymous note on the handlebars. It could either be sweet (“I worry about this bike. Take it in?”) or sour (“Move this or I’m slashing the tires”), but it’ll at least tell you if someone’s checking on it and would hopefully prompt some action. —GP
Gear Prudence: I started using bike gloves on my commute last year as the weather got cold, and they’ve become a regular part of my cycling gear. Problem is, with only one pair of gloves and near-daily use, they have started to develop a bit of an odor. I washed them and a slight musk remains. At what point do I call it and toss them out? —Worried About Smelly Hands
Dear WASH: Cycling gloves are meant to provide padding and support for your hands on longer distance rides. They’re not the most common piece of commuter gear, but they do provide carpal comfort, so it’s easy to understand how you became attached. GP hates the idea of you tossing gloves for something as rectifiable as odor. You could, for example, start riding with a clothespin over your nose. Or wear a second, heavier pair of gloves over your smelly gloves to contain the smell. Give cleaning another try. You could leave the gloves in the sun (sunlight is the best disinfectant) or put the gloves in the freezer for a few days. Try washing them with detergent and vinegar. Or try washing them with detergent and baking soda. Air dry them, so the high heat doesn’t bake in the smell. But if the smell persists after all this, call it. A year of daily use is a good run for any bike equipment. They’ve more than paid for themselves. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who tweets @sharrowsDC. Got a question about bicycling? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.