We met by chance, or so it seems. I suppose there really is no such thing as “chance”. I was ready for it, and it was there. I wasn’t really looking but, you see, it had been a while since I’d been happy. I’d even strayed about some, trying a bit of this and a bit of that, but nothing really filled the void I felt within. But Love is a real thing and it can belong to each of us; we just have to be willing to see and we need the courage to grasp it while we can.
My chain and I share a tumultuous relationship. Mostly, we get along just fine, but my demands are high and it is but a simple thing. There are times when it simply doesn’t behave as I’d like. Not only do I expect it to shift properly and propel my bike without impeding my forward progress more than I already do myself, but I expect it to be absolutely silent, only allowing it a triumphant chirp when coaxed onto an adjacent cog.
In my quest to observe the Principle of Silence, I tune my drivetrain and bike more often than is reasonable, often when it requires neither tuning nor cleaning. But I do it anyway, and it feels good. Few things delight me as much as hearing the hum of the back wheel as it spins on the stand, my left hand spinning the drive-side pedal while my right hand pushes the levers on the shifters while watching the chain skip flawlessly from one cog to the next. A daily ritual, I never – under any circumstances – throw my leg over a bike without first cleaning at least the chain. I find it is unbecoming of a Velominatus to ride a soiled machine; we are not barbarians, after all.
You need to know all this in order to understand what I will say next. I have experimented with synthetic lubes and with waxes, and none are the equal of an oil-based product. Sure, oil attracts more road grit, but for those of us who clean our chains every day, that hardly matters. More importantly, it’s lubricating qualities are far superior to the synthetics. As for providing a solid platform for the Principle of Silence, no product I’ve come across has managed to rival the noise-dampening qualities of Dumonde Tech BCL, made right here in Seattle, no less. All it requires is a single drop on each link and chain noise virtually disappears. If you are lucky enough to ride well-tuned Campagnolo mechs, you’ll find that the only sound you hear is the hiss of your wheels cutting through the breeze. And, in my case, that of belabored breathing.
When first we met, I was skeptical. I’d been hurt in the past and I needed assurances that it wouldn’t happen again. The bottle caught my eye as it stood coyly on its shelf. I picked it up and discretely read the label which said all the right things – a bit about low friction and a bit re-applying only when chain noise becomes audible. I took the first step, and it has rewarded me with silence.
And, dare I say, it smells strangely pleasant.