Thursday, October 24, 2013


Wash Kits: Delivery to your Doorstep, or Ed Sander


The first wave of Service Course Wash Kits is in the field, literally and figuratively, and plotting for a second production run is well underway. (What's a Service Course Wash Kit? The more-or-less complete description is here.) 

If you’d like a Wash Kit from batch #2, there are two ways to get your hands on one:
  1. Live in the Greater Washington DC Megalopolis, race the always entertaining Ed Sander Memorial Cyclocross at Lilypons Water Garden on November 3, and pick one up from me there. Ideally you'll PayPal $55.00 to theservicecourse at yahoo dot com ahead of time, and I'll have one waiting with your name on it with a stylish orange post-it, as seen aboveOr, email me and tell me you’d like one but you’re really, really, seriously going to bring me cash on race day. Honest, you will.

  2. Live somewhere else, and have me mail you one. I do that now. I don’t yet have a fancy web store like some people, and I’m trying to go with actual shipping costs, so the process works like this:
We'll be back to our irregular regularly scheduled programming shortly. Right after I mail out some buckets.

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Sunday, October 13, 2013


Service Course Wash Kits

For this 'cross season, I've decided to push my usual boundaries, straying outside of the world of bike racing words and into the realm of cold, hard product. Those in the MABRA racing district who did the Tacchino Cyclocross today got a sneak peek at the new Service Course Wash Kit. I'm pretty proud of it. It's simple, with an emphasis on the components that work best for the task at hand -- cleaning dirt, sand, mud, and run-of-the-mill road grime off of bicycles quickly and efficiently. If you'd like one, I'd be happy to help you out.

Service Course Wash Kits cost $55 USD and include:
  • One heavy-duty 5 gallon bucket. Heavy-duty means it’s thicker (90mil vs. 70mil) than what you can buy at Home Depot or Lowes. And it won’t say Home Depot or Lowes on it. Five gallon means you can fit plenty of water with room for foam, and between uses you can fit all your cleaning gear inside. It’s red and round. It has a handle, for carrying.
  • Watertight, airtight, screw-on lid. It’s black. It goes on and off easily, without hammering or prying, carries water without sloshing, and eliminates leaks and drips in your car, house, and garage. As demonstrated in today's rain, it can also keep contents inside dry.
  • Three tampico-bristled, wood-handled cleaning brushes, made by folks who know the brush business, in three shapes best suited for bike cleaning:

    Frame and wheel brush: Use it where you would use a sponge – frame, wheels, bars. Revel in the fact that it won’t tear like a sponge whenever it hits a chainring or cable end.

    Conical brush: The semi-secret weapon of Euro pro team mechanics provides fast, effective cleaning in tight areas – under the fork crown, hubs, between the stays, behind the chainrings and brakes.

    Solvent brush: If you were a chain-smoking Dutch mechanic, you’d dip this brush in a cut-off water bottle full of diesel and slop it all over everything. But you’re not, so spray some less flammable cleaner on your drivetrain, let it sit a minute, then go at it with this brush. Rinse, then step back and admire your glistening chainrings.
  • One microfiber towel. Use it for drying and polishing.. They’re soft, ridiculously absorbent, and washable. Remember to shove a corner into the bolt heads post-wash to keep them rust-free. This one’s big enough to dry your bike, small enough to not get unwieldy.

NOTE: We now offer a brush and towel only version, the B.Y.O.B..

Service Course Wash Kits do not include:
  • Brittle, ineffective chain cleaning tools, magic cleaning potions, bargain bin hex wrenches, or other do-dads that have bloated similar products in the past. Our focus is on providing high-quality versions of the cleaning tools that have been proven effective by pro and amateur mechanics for decades.
Send me an email with your zip code, and I'll let you know how much shipping (via FedEx) will run, and what your total would be. (Typical shipping cost is around $11-$15 depending on destination.) If it works for you, you PayPal me that amount, include your shipping address, and I box up a wash kit and send it out.

Why tampico brushes?
Natural tampico bristles hold more water and rinse cleaner than synthetic bristles. That means they don’t hold and drag grease, dirt, and grit around your bike like synthetic bristles do. They also maintain their properties over time – tampico bristles don’t harden or otherwise deteriorate with use. They will wear out eventually, but it takes awhile. I’ve been using a set for a year with no signs of slowing down. And they’re made from plants, which are sustainable, not oil, which isn’t. Same for the wood handle. Synthetics are less expensive, but they don’t work as well.

Who the hell are you, and why should I buy a cleaning kit from you?
I’m Ryan. You may have seen me at Super8 races riding for Crosshairs the past couple of years, or Squadra Coppi before that (or other teams before that, but we'll just quit there).
The bigger picture is that I’ve been involved in bikes and bike racing for 20 years or so now. I started out as a shop rat, raced mountain, road, and ‘cross, and have covered the sport in the U.S. and Europe as a contributor and columnist for Velo/ You may also know me from the site you're reading now, and as @SC_Cycling on Twitter.

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