Boy, do I wish I found out about that trick 5 years ago. A burdensome, filthy, back-aching chore was actually not too bad. Monkey even gave me a hand, which consisted of him scrubbing the same section of wheel about 50 times. I have this feeling I am going to apply the brakes in the morning and find that..... I have no braking power because there is still soap all over the rim.
I now have a clean, shiny bicycle - almost like a newbie. Except for the chips and scratches in the paint work, and the creaks and groans that it gives out every time a hill is hammered (the bike creaks and groans - I puff and pant).
I figured out today that there are several more indicators of newbie status. The first is the lack of a weather beaten look. If a cyclist has smooth, soft skin that is any colour but dark brown, then they are a newbie. I have the look of someone that has squinted into the rain/sun/hail/wind/bug swarm once too often.
Another sign is the legs. I mentioned calf muscles the other day - when a good cyclist is moving, their calf muscles start to look like a sock full of snakes having an orgy. But the thighs are also worth looking at. Size is not necessarily the issue - look instead for funny looking muscles poking out of odd places. You'll know it when you see it. A newbie will have the soft, round thighs of an office worker. An old hand has thighs that are as angular and chunky as... I don't know - maybe think Jesse Ventura in Predator.
The forecast says it is going to rain all week. Why on earth did I wash my bike today?