When I see pics of commuter bikes here, they're all so clean and shiny. My bike doesn't look anything like that! It's usually kind of dusty in the summer and muddy in the winter. I've had it for 3 1/2 years now and I've ridden it almost every day since, even through our Michigan winters. I have never washed it with soap and water, but sometimes in the winter I wipe it down with a rag and some WD-40. Otherwise, it gets washed when it rains, as it sits waiting for me outside work or the store. (It is garaged indoors when I'm at home.)
It doesn't seem to have any corrosion anywhere, even on the steel frame. I've needed a new bottom bracket, and I've had the hubs overhauled a couple times. No problem with the gears or brakes, which I do lube once in a while. And I'm actually pretty good about lubing the chain, but I never clean the chain. I'm on my second chain now.
What I'm wondering is do most of you always keep your bikes so nice and shiny, or do you just wax and buff them before you take photos? Is it really important to the bike to be kept clean, or is it just that most people think a clean bike looks nicer?
You can be honest....remember we don't know your real name!