Hand Cleaners for Touring Cyclists

Grace Newhaven

2000 / March

Having dirty hands sometimes is an unavoidable hazard of bicycling. Sometimes cyclists will defer simple running adjustments for fear of dirtying their hands at an inconvenient time ; or perhaps risk damaging their clothes or handlebars by finishing a job with greasy fingers. Your bike may suffer as a result.

However, this does not have to be such a problem ! As a solution, I keep two film canisters in my tool kit ( and often a spare in the handle-bar bag, too).

 #1. is a product called "barrier cream",  made here in Adelaide, which creates a "barrier" between your hands and grease & dirt. It does so by filling the micro-cracks and cavities in your hands & nails with an inoffensive, semi soluble white gel. Any subsequent grease or dirt rests on top of the cream layer, and is thus easier to wash /wipe off, as it cannot penetrate the cracks in the skin.

#2. is a citrus-based cleaner, bought in a hardware shop

 Using a smear of barrier cream before the job, and a dab of cleaner afterwards, combined with a minute's worth of through application, leads to sparkling clean hands, even with a minimum of water.

( For those occasions where there is no water, grass is useful. Where there is no grass, a sachet of "refresher towel" saved from an airline journey is good!)

 First application of the barrier cream may be unnerving, as it feels very greasy for a minute or so, and you fear your hands will slip on the tools etc. Not so, however, if you persevere a little longer - the gel begins to feel like a second skin.

 On tour, these two film containers have lasted us (2 people X 1500 Km) easily, though we carry a back up as well. It's a great idea for a small "gift" to other bikers too, - especially ones with greasy hands at the time.

 The two canisters’' contents would cost around A$0.50 I guess, after buying in bulk (500 gm / 1 lb containers) for the workshop or garden shed.

 Sorry , I have no idea what equivalent exists in other countries ! Please let me know...


Minor works Bike fish