I know what you are thinking.
What does a vacuum cleaner have to do with cycling?
Well, more than you might think.
Bear with me.
I am considering refinishing the pine floors at the cottage. They haven’t been refinished since being first installed 45+ years ago. Surprisingly, they don’t look that bad. There are a few worn spots in the higher traffic areas, but for the most part, they are fine. But flat looking. Lifeless. When I wash them, they glisten, and the wood grain is accentuated. That’s the way I want them to look all of the time.
So, I made a trip to The Home Depot. Have you noticed? They are everywhere. Like Tim Horton’s in Ontario. Starbuck’s on the west coast. And, McDonald’s everywhere else. But I digress. While reading the application instructions for various floor products, it is recommended to sand lightly beforehand, and then wipe clean with a damp cloth, or vacuum.
The cottage floors have never seen a vacuum. For as long as I can remember, they have been swept, and washed with Murphy Oil Soap. This has been a long standing tradition. Something I have always taken great pleasure in. I love the smell of Murphy Soap, and how the grain pops.
Why would I need to vacuum?
Well, maybe it will help when I refinish the floors. So, when at Walmart recently (have you noticed they are everywhere too?), I purchased a standup vacuum cleaner. I was anxious to give it a try. I didn’t expect much. I had just washed the floors.
Boy, was I wrong.
The vacuum picked up an inordinate amount of dust and dirt. I couldn’t believe it. For the next 2 days, I kept vacuuming the floors with the same result. A lot of dust and dirt. I was amazed. It seems dirt collected between the pine boards and was never collected when sweeping and washing. Instead, it just continued to accumulate for 40+ years.
Now, the floors look better than ever. They have this natural low sheen, and I can actually see the sub-floor between some the the pine boards. I’m not sure I even have to re-finish them. They look wonderful.
So, what has this to do with cycling?
Well, have you ever tried to repair, or tune your bike with a pair of pliers, and a slot screw driver? I hope not. You need specialized tools. Tools designed for bike maintenance. Tools that fit the specialized nuts, bolts, screws, and custom bike parts like cones, bottom brackets, spokes …
You see, I was using the wrong tool to clean my pine floors. I was using a pair of pliers instead of a 6 mm wrench. I love working on my bikes. I have all of the right tools, making regular bike maintenance easy, fast, and enjoyable. Now, before I head out the door, I vacuum all of the pine floors. It doesn’t take long, and I know I have picked up all of the dirt, dust, and sand that inevitably finds its way into the cottage.