I suppose I qualify as a slob-wannabe. A bike covered with dust, dirt, grime, animal viscera and bugs is a bike that has ridden many miles and has stories to tell. Like the advertisement says, "Never been polished, never gonna be polished." On the other hand, a bike in such condition is probably owned by a semi-skilled worker, who never sees a dentist, rarely changes the oil in his t-shirt and has enough dirt under his fingernails to qualify for a geologic survey. Said owner is usually found seated at his, or her, own table downwind from the other diners. Of course, we all know that isn't true. Well, maybe some if it is.
Then again, it's a quality bike that should show off its best characteristics by standing tall and polished high enough that the reflection of a yardstick shows all 36 inches.
Every now and then I succumb and give the bike a thorough cleaning, waxing and polishing. But who am I kidding? I live at the end of a 3/4 dirt and stone lane. If I clean my bike before leaving the house, it's dirty by the time I get to the mailbox. Which I why I wonder why other riders tell me to "Keep the shiny side up." The only shiny part of my bike is the reflector in the headlight assembly. If I'm keeping that up, I must be doing a wheelie.
It's unlikely that I'll wash and clean the bike when it's raining. And if it's nice out why am I washing and cleaning the bike when I could be riding it?
But let's be realistic. Cleansing agents, degreasers, polishers, buffers, waxes, micro fibre cloths, sprays and brushes constitute a billion dollar industry. (If you doubt me, just glance through a Griot's Catalog). By keeping our bikes clean we are doing our part to keep the American economy afloat.
And if any of you believe any of this, let me know; I have some swampland in Florida I'm trying to sell.