A sure sign of aging is when all your friends start buying expensive road bikes and swearing that joint-friendly biking is a superior form of exercise and really very, very fun.
I bike the kids to school. I bike to work for as much of the year as I can bear (one of the biggest knocks against living in Ottawa is the 3-4 month period when only crazies take their bikes out: there are a lot of crazies in Ottawa). And I bike to the shops whenever possible (I am not shy about accosting friends and neighbors in the supermarket and asking them to drive watermelons and other heavy weekly specials home for me: my own special type of craziness).
In the harsh Ottawa climate, bikes require love and attention. Mostly I forget that, but one item that I do always have at hand for a quick squirt is Pedro’s Go! (yes, the exclamation mark is part of the name), a biodegradable chain lubricant.
Go! is made from 40% renewable vegetable oil. The rest is made up of a proprietary biodegradable synthetic oil and about 1% bio-based additives. Pedro’s also markets a product called Chainj (50% renewable vegetable oil) a chain lubricant for wetter riding conditions.
Not being a true bike enthusiast, I am not really qualified to rate Go! relative to other chain lubricants. However, it works for me and for my local bike shop (though they did say that it gets stickier a bit quicker than synthetic oils so you might need to apply more frequently). By way of due diligence, I have also checked out on-line reviews and found happy customers.
Both these Pedro’s products biodegrade up to 73% in 28 days (the figure for all-synthetic bicycle lubricants would be under 60% and possibly as low as 15-25% over the same time period). With the tiny amounts in use, maybe this is not a critical issue. But in my view, all things being equal, biodegradability has to be a good thing.
Pedro’s sources its bike lubricant products in the US (Massachusetts, not too far from me) and, as company, is conscious of finding ways to improve its environmental footprint. It no longer warehouses goods (shipping them direct to customers reduces transportation costs/emissions) and uses recyclable PET bottles for most of its products. And, of course, employees are encouraged to bike to work… Not a profoundly ecological company but one that is certainly trying to move in that direction.
So when you have finished your current lubricant and your dry and squeaky bike calls out to you, give Pedro’s a try. Many of the bike shops in Ottawa sell Pedro’s products so I assume that is the case in other cities too. It is also available internationally (here is a UK source) If you can’t find it locally, there are also a number of on-line sources. It retails for about $10 for a 120ml (4 fl oz) bottle, no more than your average chain lubricant.