Returned from holiday this weekend to discover my trusty Schwinn in an advanced state of fossilisation. In the weeks prior to the break, it'd been snowing or raining in Budapest almost continuously, so my bike was getting a twice-daily dousing of mud and road salt. I did my best to keep it clean, but did not have the time or patience to wash it every evening. And I did not clean it before leaving on vacation.
After festering there in a salty chrysalis for a week, the old mountain bike was not limber. My front brake, a typical cantilever type, had locked up solid, neither side pivoting on its axis. The front derailer had the same problem. I clicked up and down between all three positions with the shifter, but the derailer would not budge.
I took both paralysed components apart with the intention of cleaning out the dirt and corrosion and then giving them a good lube. It wasn't until all parts were scattered about the kitchen floor that I discovered my chain oil was missing. So I improvised with the nearest thing at hand: some virgin olive oil from next to the stove. My wife is quite a gourmet, so corn oil was not an option. Anyway, not a pro job, but at least I had wheels for this morning's commute.
This winter's dragging on. Can't wait for decent biking weather.