I don't take good care of my bicycle and I am mostly unapologetic. Back when I was a horse person I had a friend who was a superb rider and a human of the highest ethics. She took excellent care of her horse and she never put her gear away in any shape other than spotless. What happened? Gilbert, the horse, came down with a freak infection that killed him in about twelve hours.
One reason that I have moved from horses to bicycles is that it's easier to swap the parts out when they fail. My bicycle has been feeling "bad" for more than a few days and since I am pretty oblivious to anything but poorly behaved cars and lovely California weather it's probably been in a steep decline for awhile now.
Ultimately I asked Contraption Captain to have a look and today he came home with new gears and chain. Cross your fingers that all goes well for my bicycle because if it needs to convalesce tomorrow I'll be stuck riding three tons of Extracycle.
My dirty crippled bicycle. Don't be fooled. This is what a well loved bicycle looks like, not a neglected one. Neglected bicycles are shinier.
A supremely dirty bicycle gets some attention.