It's an obvious tip, but for whatever reason latex gloves often don't work for me. They disintegrate over time. In hot weather, the gloves get sticky, especially when they're scrunched up inside of my saddle bag.
A few weeks ago I stuffed a few packets of Grease Monkey Wipes into my saddle bag. I haven't flatted since I installed the Kevlar belted Hutchinson Fusion 2 tires on my bike, but I did snap my chain near the California Avenue Caltrain Station just as a train was (fortuitously) pulling into the station.
I ran into the train, found my chain tool and removed the damaged link. Because 10 speed chains aren't easy to link together without a master link (bah!), I gave up after a few minutes of wrestling with the chain. I keep my chain fairly clean but grease and grime is still a fact of life when handling the chain.
At this point I usually ruin my pants by wiping my hands on them, but on this day I had Grease Monkey wipes. They're small wipes in single wipe packages with a citrus degreaser (to remove the grease) and aloe, lanolin and Vitamin E to temper the harshness of the degreaser on my skin. My hands smell like oranges instead of petroleum distillates, and the wipes effectively remove the grime from my hands.
They work as expected, the packaging is handy and I can stuff several into my saddle bag. Grease Monkey Wipes are available at some local bikes shop or online.
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Gloves don't work for me either. They get damaged and the reduce my grip and dexterity. When I flip my wheel on the fixed gear I wipe my fingers on my socks. I have a collection of cruddy socks, but who looks at your socks? They are reusable, which means I'm not tossing anything into the trash until it has served a long time.
Bear in mind that I have tee shirts older than most people's kids.
@cafiend: I still own oil stained shirts I wore when I worked at Pizza Hut in the 80s. :-) I still wore a coat I used in high school until about six years ago when my wife through it out. The socks are a good idea -- I've done that too.
@Anon: Ah, good point. Similar problem with patch kit glue for me.
Nah, that's just extra junk to carry around. I've learned how to remove my back wheel without touching the chain, which has solved most of this problem. My hands get a little dirty from handling the tire, but I'm either 1) out on a long ride and don't care about clean hands or 2) commuting and can easily wash up at my destination.
for anyone that wants to try out the product you can save 10% by using code 'cyclelicious' at checkout, as for the durability issue I just recently used a wipe that had been in my saddle bag since I received the first shipment from the manufacturer almost a year ago, so they hold up really well, and they are very compact only the size of roughly a few credit cards so very packable, I am the owner of the company so I appreciate all the feedback/comments
Congratulation to Grease Monkey Wipes. I hope more marketing experts exert efforts like this to help people with great ideas like the Shark Tank TV Show (http://www.SharkTankTVShow.com) that provide financial assistance and expert's advice to small entrepreneurs, which is great for the economy.
Hey I thought of this idea a long time ago :). I think keeping a few wipes in your saddle bag is a good idea for those unexpected times you do repair work on the road. As for gloves, latex gloves break too easily. Nitrile are good, but may be too bulking for small saddle bags (used by the racer types). Also, if you are riding with a group of racer types, you may get verbally attacked for using gloves on the ride. Better to get dirty, and clean up after the ride is over. Just depends on who you ride with.