Bottlebrushes and Nail Drills

One way you might parse technologies is hard versus soft. Direct versus indirect. Kinetic versus supporting. Per the old military adage: An army marches on its stomach. Or is it feet? Meaning, the sexy side of military tech is the smart shell loaded into a howitzer, or what goes into an M1A2 battle tank. But that tank doesn’t drive itself. If you don’t pay attention to the oil in the engine’s crankcase or the food in the belly of the driver (I believe they call him or her a “specialist”, is that right?) or for that matter the feet inside the socks inside the boots of that specialist, even I know bad things can happen.

I pay a lot of attention to the hygiene side of cycling but I don’t know that everyone does. Yes bibs are pricey. Nevertheless I am out of my bib immediately (e.g., minutes) after my ride and I never ride in a bib that isn’t freshly laundered and as quickly as possible after my ride I am freshly laundered. On longer rides (more than 2hr) there’s always chamois cream. And so on.

Today I’m writing about a couple of items not thematically connected other than they both fall in this category of hygiene and “soft” or “supporting” tech. A lot of you just toss your bottles in the dishwasher and in my experience there are two problems I know of and one that I suspect. What I know is that dishwashers can be hard on bottles, because the temps are quite high and bottle makers don’t anticipate you’ll wash your bottles this way. Second, I perceive a little bit of dishwasher detergent aftertaste. (I don't prefer the Fruit Punch + Cascade flavor.) So, no dishwashers for my bottles. (The problem I don’t know but suspect or at least mildly fear is the nanoplastic particles that are in the news today, and I don’t know that repeated dishwasher cycles are good in that regard.)

This means a bottlebrush and I have a few that I have around the property for my bottles. These brushes I do throw in the dishwasher, and they’re all at least “top rack” dishwasher safe. I have a few bottlebrushes and they all work and they’re pictured here. What you see here is the fruit of 3 purchases because you’ll note that 2 are identical and these come 2-to-a-purchase. I like these because of that sponge at the top. These along with one of the others come with a separate tiny brush that is buried in the handle and this is because the main use of these is to wash baby bottles. Those tiny ones are nipple brushes. In my case they’re to get into the hidden areas in and around the cap.

Honestly, they all work well enough so that the decision might be where and how you store these brushes. As you see some are freestanding, some you hook from, say, a pot and utensil rack, one of these has its own stand. They are all amazingly cheap, as in, $7 or $8. I got all of mine from Amazon. These bottle brushes, in a sink halfway full of semi-hot water and dish soap, constitute my bottle washing regime. You can wash a lot of bottles in a short period of time. Some bottles some with removable caps, but I don’t know which of my bottles these are and I’m afraid to find out. So I leave the caps on and just scrub with the nipple brush.

I don't ride with bottles I haven't washed. Keep your bottles clean. One helpful feature on some of these bottlebrushes are longer handles, which can come in handy for use on some of the BTA systems. One reason I'm not a big fan of inside-the-frame hydration systems is that cleaning these is not always a trivial pursuit.

This next one, it’s a little weird. Perhaps some backstory. I have always been vain in certain ways and my vanity is around aging. There are just some things I will not allow myself to fall prey to, and I will divulge to you two of them. First, I will resist with all my powers “old person’s voice.” I’m not quite old enough to have that voice yet but I’m not too far away either, and I don’t want anyone (on the telephone, say) to divine my age from my voice. Another vanity I have developed surrounds my feet and this is because, per the above, feet are important to infantrymen for a very good reason. I do everything I can to keep my feet young. But…

Some things I just have not been able to avoid. For example, a horse jumped up into the air and came down on my foot. Didn’t just step on my foot. Jumped on my foot. For emphasis I guess. Incidents like that have compromised certain toenails and the horse jumping episode has resulted in a big toenail that fell out, regrew, but regrew thicker and with a pronounced ridge. This caused me some pain when cycling. My options were to buy cycling shoes a half size larger just to accommodate dodgy nails, or to custom stretch my shoes, or to just manicure the nail.

My wife bought me my first-ever pedicure last year. The “specialist” (same title they give the tank drivers) pulled out her Dremel-like sanding tool and then the light bulb went off. They sell these on Amazon. This is the one I got. It’s got all kinds of attachments including a whole spitload of extra sanding bands.

They call this a “nail drill.” That name should give you pause, right there. This thing runs at 30,000 rpm. You could get James Bond to talk with this. I am not a specialist, but common sense tells me if you wax overenthusiastic with your nail drill you could cause yourself much bigger problems than the ones you’re trying to solve. Baby steps. But I must tell you my problem was solved (!!) using this targeted, surgical piece of smart artillery. No more cycling foot pain. Shoes now fit properly (as they once did). I can resume my side hustle as a foot model. Just, again, you and I can both imagine what could happen if you sanded a little too much off, so user beware.