Leaving work today I got a compliment on my bike. The cleanliness of it — or rather the lack of it.

“I keep wanting to see an ad for a bike like that,” the other Amazonian said, “that says ‘never been off road.'”

That would truly be sad in my opinion.

A bike like mine comes from the factory ready to take a bit of a beating. You have the crash bars to protect the engine. Head guards to protect the valve covers… I’ve tested both in the past. Even the panniers, while not being designed to be bashed around too much can take more of a pounding than you you expect.

I like the nice patina of dirt.

When would I wash the bike?

When it rains. ;-)

You can argue that cleaning the bike lets you take a good close look at the bike to make sure that things are still OK… don’t get me wrong — I still do that. I just rather spend time riding the bike and getting it dirty rather than spend all my time cleaning it.

(Note: If I was riding in a salty setting like Cleveland, yes, I would clean the bike. I don’t want rust. Muck is one thing, rust is quite another.)