Part Four

The fourth installment in our five-part series from Daniel Schwinnski, lugged steel road race champion of Lenawee County.

4. Cleaning bikes and parts with a toothbrush.

When cleaning my bike, I often found dirt hiding in the nooks and crannies, and I asked myself, “How do I get that out of there?” My solution was to use an old toothbrush.  I have also found that they work great for cleaning of chains and bearings when I’m overhauling them.  One word of caution however, people don’t take it lightly when you are cleaning parts inside with mineral spirits.  They claim it’s too strong, yet I’ve never smelled it.  My best advice would be to do it in a place with adequate ventilation and use gloves.

3. Using screwdrivers in place of pin spanners.

How many of us have seen the disclaimer written right on a screwdriver handle “not to be used as a chisel, pry bar or punch,” yet we use it for exactly that?  When I was servicing my one piece cranks I needed something to hold the adjustable race on the left side when tightening them; a hammer and a screwdriver work great for that.  When the adjusting cone on my three piece crank starts to slip, the screwdriver/hammer combo is there for the rescue.  Just last year I found while browsing the internet that such a pin spanner is what I could be using if I broke down and bought one.  I’ve got one for the one piece but not yet for the three piece.


6 responses to “Part Four

  1. Oh man, your bringing back some memories of when I used to do everything with a hammer and screwdriver to a bike. A word of advice though my friend, I know that bike specific tools are not cheep, but the right tool for the job in my experience works better.

    You’re in luck though, because many of these tools are available for everyone’s use at the RBL. I’d love to share my limited knowledge of there use with you, and if I’m not there, I bought a book for people to use. Please take full advantage of what the RBL has to offer…

  2. I’ve bought the correct spanner for the one piece crank but have yet to get one for my 3 piece. It does help to have the correct tools. As for the RBL, it’s tricky to find time to go when it’s open since there aren’t too many set hours as of yet, at least as far as I’m aware.

    • I agree with you whole heartily. If it were me, and I was independently wealthy and could just hang out at the RBL with the door open, I would. Unfortunately this is not the case for me or other volunteers with access to the RBL. I had hoped that we would have had regular weekly hours where the RBL would be open by now, but as yet this has not happened. For one, I’m not the one who’s spending the money to keep the RBL open, insured, and the power and water running. I can only take partial credit for many of the tools there.
      I should be off this coming weekend of the 22nd and 23rd, and hope to have the RBL open for at least 5 hours on at lease one of those days…

      I plan to post open times at the fallowing link:

  3. Spanner wrench? News to me. I always thought those slots were made specifically for a screwdriver. That’s what I’ve always used and it works fine. I see no need to spend money on a “bike tool” for this. Then again, I’ve always used screwdrivers to mount and unmount tires too, so what do I know?

  4. Screwdrivers for tires? See my next installment on that very topic.

  5. Paul H Downs

    I had read once and use it to this day for cleaning. A mixture of Simple Green and Spic-n-Span works great to cut grease n grime from parts. I usually soak them in a container of it, scrub with an old tooth brush followed by a hot rinse in almost boiling water (a trick I learnrd in the military cleaing my M-16) it cuts thru any oils left on, and heats the metal parts enough so that after you shake them off the heated metal dries of any leftover water so no rust sneaks in. I follow with a wax lub like White Lightning (oil products collect every bit of dust and dirt you just cleaned off. Parts stay cleaner and last longer.