The Great White Bar Tape Debate...

Odd title for a blog post, I know.   When I bought the Specialized Roubaix bike with the white saddle and the white bar tape, the question was "how long would it take until the bar tape was no longer white?"

New & White


I've read various suggestions on using 409, Simple Green, dish detergent, SoftScrub, white shoe polish, etc... to keep the bars nice and white.  Truth is, I sort of like the grunge look where my white bars have now turned brown, or whatever the color is.  It sort of makes a statement "yup, I ride this bike a lot".  On the other hand, it sort of looks like the front of a pair of men's white briefs that have been worn far too many days and are no longer a vivid white.  ;-)  Ooooooo....that's a nice image, huh?

Take a look...


Still Sort of New & Yuck White Now


I got a chance to check out the Lizard Skin bar tape that comes in various colors and thicknesses the other day at Scheel's.  I liked the feel of the Lizard Skins bar tape and really liked the red tape which would probably look good on the bike.  But they had white as well.  Mine is far from being worn out and I should be able to get at least a full season out of it.  Heck, I just had Zack's tape changed on his Allez at Rassy's this week and it replaced the original tape that has been on there since 2006.  Of course, it was black and dirt was not the factor.  It had several rips and was starting to unravel on one of the drops so it was due for a change.  In addition, they replaced a broken spoke, and upgraded it to new tires as the original tires were starting to show enough wear to replace.  We went with 25mm tires to give a bit more comfort over the original 23mm tires.  His new black bar tape looks and feels great.

Upgraded Allez


Which gets me thinking to my next move on my Roubaix....

I guess the debate narrows down to this:   "Do I leave it dirty, or do I try to clean it?"

Soiled & Used


Or should I spiff it up and clean it?

It's really the only question I had when I bought the bike.  The other color (black) was not in stock and wouldn't have been available - if even - until the end of May, so I went with the red with the white touch points.  My thought was always that I could just change the bar tape once it soils.

Well - I'm there now.  Soiled and debating on cleaning or changing.

Trail Work

I've been hitting up Lake Ahquabi and attacking the honeysuckle jungle this week.  I've got about 3 more days of trimming to go and I will have done the entire nearly 7 mile race loop we use for The Mullet Fall Classic mountain bike race.  I have also volunteered and the DNR is going to put me on tractor to do some mowing and trail work on other sections as well.  They have a new piece of equipment coming in mid-July that actually is like a long hedge clipper that attaches to the tractors mower and you can just "hedge clip" the growth along the trails.  They used to do it this way, but the trimmer broke and it has taken several years to fund the purchase of a new one.  So I have been lopping and trimming the trails for the last couple of years.  It's slow work as the growth is so thick.

Last year, I kept a lot of the canopy and let the trail grow in a bit which was great for mountain bikers, but not so for the general public.   The drought stunted most of the growth last year and it was very easy to maintain all year long.  This year things are more normal and it is growing fast and furious with all of the rain and the lack of extreme heat.  On some sections, I have done a major trim cutting it back far enough to last all season.  Other sections, I am still trying to maintain a bit of canopy and closed in feel.  That will all change in mid-July when the new equipement comes.  I would like to use their brush hog and tractor to get in and open up a lot of the hiking trails in the backwoods that have grown in over the past few years.

Regardless, my body is worked from trimming 3-4 hours a day.  I'm going back out today to take advantage of the cooler temperatures to trim a big section.  The ticks, flies, bees, mosquitoes are all attacking me in spite of wearing a can of Cutter's.  I pulled two ticks off last night, and several others were crawling on me.

I also trimmed and mowed the lawn last night after getting back from a morning and afternoon of work at Ahquabi.  By the time I went to bed, my body reminded me I am not 29, or 39, or 49 any more.   Nothing 10 hours of sleep couldn't fix, but I should figure out the TSS of doing trail work and yard work as I know it is taking a toll on my muscles and back for sure.


This is week 10 of my Build, Peak, and Race 12 week program.  I call it "organized training", but Tom Anderson pointed out the correct term - it's "structured training".  This week was the introduction of a new interval workout session called "taper reps" on Tuesday.  I lifted weights on Monday, did the taper reps on Tuesday, lifted on Wednesday with a recovery spin, did an hour of XC tech with 20 minutes race pace yesterday (between trimming sessions at Ahquabi), and today is XC warm up practice with core work this evening.  If anything, all this training has improved my lawn mowing ability.  '-)  I didn't have to mow much last year due to the drought, but I've got to do it at least twice a week this year at a bare minimum it is growing so fast with the cool temperatures and rain.

Today is strip the stain off the deck day starting in 30 minutes.  Then I'm off to Ahquabi to trim and will do my bike training ride around 2.  We are going to Napoli's for dinner tonight.  It's the new Italian restaurant in Indianola and our daughter, Alexa is a server there.  It will be our first visit and of course, we are going to request Alexa as our server.


Iowagriz said...

I was worried about my white bar tape as well. It's held up fairly well so far, but I haven't taken that bike out in the rain yet either. I was told by the road fashionistas that the bar tape should always match the saddle. That actually makes sense to me.

Thanks for your work on the trails.

Bruce Brown said...

I think I've got a bottle of 409 I will try to clean it a bit. It's certainly not worn out, so I can live with dirt. Going OCD to keep white clean is not a goal!!