They Promised us Jet-Packs
You know it, when you think back that they'd promised you jet-packs by now; And you thought, "f-yes!!" -- "That's going to be a banner day, when the box arrives". So for years you waited idly, patient as a Hindu cow. Of course, you substituted other gadgets into your quiver, which would tide you over whilst your order was processed. First it may have been a Big-Wheel, then maybe a Go-cart that you cobbled together from plywood, and some lawn-mower wheels. Then it was a skateboard that you took some sweet jumps with, which cost your parents a holiday in the E.R. We all know it was that 'crappy board' they got you, and not your mad skills, but you marched onward. Later, to the Bike that you loved, and you began to build ramps to jump that. The bike panned-out, and it took you places, and so you never pressed about why the jet-pack hadn't arrived -- But you knew that somewhere, a really crafty genius was working on one, and it would hit the market just in time for your next birthday. You worshipped the catalogs waiting for it to show up, in the "Big Book", But catalog shopping, like the internet, tends to segue attention toward other things. Over time Bikes and Skates were refined, as well as all sorts of new inventive toys. You'd dreamed of lasers, real Spider-Man web-throwers, Grappling hooks, and capers which would inevitably require the jet-pack a' la James Bond, but it never came. So fast forward a few decades, (or more), and they have them now, They are here!. Really!, Dudes like Branson have Jet-packs, and unfortunately they are way out of reach. Fiscally, you would need to mortgage the house to nab a real-life Jet-pack!!. And... So it goes, you slog through the internet, like the Sears Catalog searching for substitutes.
You religiously muddy yourself with all sorts of adventures, pulling muscles, spraining this or that, and gearing up for things which put you close to the edge, so that you can come home with that "Jet-pack" feeling from sending a rock-face, or racing in a Crit, Hiking the PCT, but alas all of these things fall short of the 30 seconds you and your jet-pack need together to consummate a relationship.
Today you've returned home from a bike ride, and realized that you have "Like literally never washed that thing", and it (your bike) is beginning to resent you for it. Your bike is a shit-storm of residual road poop. Seasons of build-up in crevasses, which dictate how hard you can press the pedals without evoking a creak or grinding sound which make you a laughing-case from a jump-start, considering the cost of that Carbon wonder. Would today be the day?
Today, I left the house at 7:40 am and pressed my pedals to emit a crackle from the bowels of hell, and thought, "That's OK! (he justified), I can merely take a sip from my bottle and squirt some down on the cranks and BB, and liberate some of that filth, so that I don't embarrass myself as I round the next corner. When I caught up to pace, my bike was making less sound, but it struck me, "Must I always be 'That Guy', who never washes his rig, and shows up for a ride with a gilded chain, so clean you could floss with it, but a bike so filthy that I literally need to hose it with Electrolyte Kool-Aid, to keep it from making sounds?" Today would be the day, that IF, I was good Didn't curse at any drivers, and washed my bike), They would bring it. The pact you made with your parents, never came true, and you stopped promising "being good" a long time ago. in exchange, but isn't it time you paid it forward. So, I spun out the usual ride and returned warm and hungry, as the weather shifted from 36 at departure to 56 upon return. One espresso consumed, discussing routes with the fellas, and I returned home to a day of chores. Later, as My fate would have it, my "jet-pack" indeed arrived in a surprisingly small yellow cardboard carton, and as I'd un-boxed it methodically, like a stupid YouTube Video, I became aware of a mis-match of my expectation vs/ reality. It was Small! Quite small.
How could something this small possibly get lift. Immediately, (setting the instructions aside as normal) I set about to figure out how to fill it, charge it and get blasting. Today, unlike the last 45, it would be mild and sunny. I'm sure glad that the weather would cooperate for such a banner day. I lifted the handle which separated the top from the base, and inside was neatly stowed the power brick, a hose, and a nozzle. It was all so neatly packaged and smartly compact that I was quite impressed with it's efficient form. I plugged it in to charge, and diverged for some other tasks.
OK so I'm impatient, and I didn't wait very long for the charge cycle, and with the tank separated, I headed to the kitchen sink to fill it up. It's rather straight-forward, and as such, at no time did I think I may have been "doing this wrong", I merely popped the top, put 4 liters in it, and headed outside. The jet Nozzle rotates like a bayonette into place onto the handle without any effort, and when the tank is returned to the body, lifting the outer handle aligns the tank handle below, becoming one tote handle. It's basically a lunch-box on steroids. Here I go into JPL test one.
The unit has a small rubber cover for the power adapter, to conceal the electric bits from spray. It's good to keep that closed, and also good to not spray oneself, or the unit, as I'm sure a deluge could make for a very unhappy friend. The unit has a power button, but when in use the mere act of pulling the trigger begins the pump. So, when you pause, the pump shuts down, and the unit is silent. Here is the action shot of the jet-pack in action.
Yes, but... is there sufficient lift, to jet this filth into oblivion? Well, yes there is. This tiny toy of a Lunch-box, is no slouch on the couch. My bike literally has NEVER been bathed, except by accidental rides in rain of all sorts. The Jet thing is Que Fuerte! especially for something that could fit neatly in a pannier bag. It's not your Paint peeler to prep the rotted deck boards for a fresh finish, but to clean your Bike, Vintage Vespa, Hub-caps, Deck Chairs, Grille, Dog Bowls, litter-box, Trash Cans, and any other nasty bits its perfect. In fact, I smiled pressing the gas on this tiny toaster sized bathing apparatus. You will of course find all sorts of "Other Uses", and perhaps some of those will be creatively censored by the critics. Not enough lift to get me off the ground, sadly... But I can live with a cleaner bike that will propel me further, with less gas and batteries, than whatever the Billionaires are flying these days. I think that the Karcher OC 3 could be the robot you bring to every Mountain-Bike and Cyclocross event this year. It does with one tank of water enough to get a mucky bike into a clean trunk, and with a few reservoir refills this tot-size shower will shine nearly any toy to new condition. And Heck on a sunny day, who doesn't want a double rainbow. I don't know much about the Marketing Momentum behind the Bumble Bee brand in the U.S. But if you want to clean up some shit with a jet-pack small enough to fit in your messenger bag, then this is the portable super soaker you have been searching for. You may have in mind a far more powerful soul-mate to clean the Siding, and strip the paint off your dog-house, but if you dwell far from a hose-bib, a power outlet, or even a faucet, then you could do worse than to let this one into your coven. As I listen to Jeff Buckley crooning "Hallelujah", I am reminded of the serendipity of a proper sound-track to a lovely afternoon when your poor neglected filthy bits finally get a proper washing, and when it happens, it just makes you feel whole again.
Make yourself one again with your filthy neglected stuff, and 'Dance Yourself Clean' with a miraculously convenient thing you'd never realized you needed, until it was revealed to you.
But don't take it from me, No. Go ahead and ask my Bike what it's done for our relationship. You already have a drawer full of neglected gadgets, and unlike your folding exercise equipment under the guest bed, your drawer full of perfectly good misfit phones, and That Shitty Drone you bought to stave off the Jet-Pack. With this one, you could actually do some good in the world, and clean up something you can't bear to stare at. I read other articles and reviews of the tiny Karcher and think it's fair to chime-in about what may be considered it's flaw. My new Karcher Jet-pack has a 4 liter reservoir, and I filled it three times to get real fresh with my favorite road bike, but heck, have you looked at it in the "Before" image. It was a grimy mess. Today we are re-kindling a relationship of mutual respect, and admiration. I really like my new jet-pack, not as much as my bike of course. The Karcher OC 3 is about a Buck-Fifty, ($129-169) and it's every bit the cool that you thought you were when you first rode a 2 wheeler. Grab one, and do it clean. You will simultaneously thank me for saving you from a creaky filthy bike, and blame me for removing all that stands between you and your weekend chores.
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Age and Treachery will overcome youth and skill.