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Gear Prudence: Sometimes I see bike commuters who have their helmets hanging from their handlebars. It’s puzzling. It seems to me that clipping your helmet to your handlebars takes roughly the same amount of time it takes to clip it on your head, so I can’t imagine this saves any time. I also get that some people ride without helmets—though I may disagree with their decision, I’ll not argue with it. But if you’ve got it with you, why not just wear it? —Uncovered Noggins On Willful Riders Nags
Dear UNWORN: With summer approaching, this phenomenon will only become more common. My guess is that the riders you saw grabbed their helmets while walking out the door, but rethought their decision to put anything atop their heads for fear of sweat. That, or maybe these riders find most of their commute to be perfectly safe headwise, except for the part through a bosque of oaks or a construction site. Or perhaps they’re lying to their loved ones about their willingness to don headgear, and as soon as they’re around the corner, off comes the helmet. But of all these theories, climate control is the most likely. —GP
Gear Prudence: What will it take for D.C. cyclists to take a couple minutes to properly lube their chains? You hear squeaky chains, from beaters all the way up to Colnagos. Am I the only one who thinks owning a bike, cheap or expensive, with a poorly maintained chain is the pinnacle of idiocy? —Like, Unbelievably Bad Efficiency
Dear LUBE : You’re not the only one who feels this way, but you can hardly hear the others’ complaints over the squeaks and awful grinding noises of poorly lubricated chains. It is an epidemic, but a pretty understandable one. For one, bicyclists, in spite of popular perception, are pretty lazy. Since they don’t have to fill up on gas every week or get oil changes or participate in any of the other semi-often drudgery of car maintenance, some believe that bicycle ownership solely consists of pointing your bike where you want to go and moving your legs up and down until it gets there. But lubricating a chain, just like putting air in the tires, is non-negotiable.
But more than laziness, it’s an education issue. How many people, especially those new to cycling, even know that you’re supposed to lubricate the chain sometimes to keep the bike moving smoothly and to reduce wear and tear? Until the International Society for Better Lubricated Bicycle Chains finally buys that Super Bowl ad, awareness will remain an issue.
Let GP do his part: Lubricating your bike’s chain is important, so take a minute every so often to do it. If you don’t know how, Youtube is replete with instructional videos. It’s easy, quick, and cheap. You’ll notice the difference right away and it will save you in the long-run. —GP