Tag Archives: removing gum with peanut butter

Cleaning Our Bicycles for New Zealand

Eco-cleaning is like spring cleaning.

Degreaser and soap working their magic.
Degreaser and soap working their magic.

Here we are in this beautiful Bali, paradise some might say, and we’ve spent most of the time so far cleaning. As a matter of fact, I felt like I was back in my childhood home polishing silver or washing windows on the first beautiful day of spring and longing to go outside.

Here’s the deal. We are traveling to New Zealand with a layover in Australia and we’ve heard that passing through immigration can be tricky for those with soil encrusted shoes or clothes. As a matter of fact, we’ve been told that some people wearing shoes crusted with trekking mud and soil have had their shoes “cleaned” at the airport for the tune of $40/pair.

In order to save the embarrassment and fees associated with dirty shoes, panniers, and bicycles, we’ve spent most of the past 2 days cleaning the mud, grime, and asphalt off our supplies.

High pressure hose to wash off the grime.
High pressure hose to wash off the grime.

First we stopped by a shop for washing motorcycles. After some pantomime he understood that we wanted our bikes washed. Like a pro, he rolled them onto a motorcycle lift, flipped our bikes over, sprayed them with degreaser, used a high presser hose to take off most the grime, and then wiped everything dry including each spoke. His treatment was a good first step.

Then, back at the hotel we used the free hotel toothbrushes that Eric has been collecting and cut up another old t-shirts into rags to do the fine scrubbing. Getting off the dry tar spots was the trickiest.

Clean panniers drying in the hot sun.
Clean panniers drying in the hot sun.

The next step was to wash off our panniers and shoes. A few tablespoons of laundry detergent in a liter bottle of water with the top cut off to make a bucket was our “cleaner.” More brushing with a toothbrush and scrubbing with wet rags took off everything except the large piece of gum stuck on the bottom of one bag.

Another reason I like peanut butter.
Another reason I like peanut butter.
They look clean but smell is a different story.
They look clean but smell is a different story.

I was afraid to use solvent on the chewing gum because I thought it could damage my waterproof bag. But then I remembered the old peanut butter trick to remove gum from hair. Voila! Problem solved. Actually, I took care of another problem, the extra jar of peanut butter that was going to be tossed before flight because of weight.

After the bikes were cleaned, we took a taxi to a bicycle shop to pick up two bicycle boxes and to Carrefour for two boxes for our panniers.

By now it was 3:30 pm. We’d been at this “spring cleaning” since 9:00 am. The plan was to spend one final hour packing the boxes and be done leaving us time to be tourists on motorbikes that we were planning to rent.

Found the slow leak in the tube but never found the cause in the tire...
Found the slow leak in the tube but never found the cause in the tire…

But, because the bicycles were clean, it was a good time to find the slow leak in Eric’s back tire and replace a spoke on my back tire. These minor repairs led to more repairs and troubles which then meant we finally sealed the bicycle boxes at 7:00 pm – a good 10-hour day.

So, just in case you think we play all the time, today was “spring cleaning” day. And one task led to another and another. We have the good feeling of a “clean house” that we hope meets the Australia/NZ customs requirements but we haven’t seen any local sites.