A Little Dab Will Do You

There’s been a lot of road milling and repaving going on lately in South Williamsburg, particularly on Driggs and Berry. Many bicyclists have noticed because we cross those streets along South 4th Street, a vital access route to the Williamsburg Bridge. As I biked to the bridge this morning, I rode over a small but thick pool of tar. Predictably, the sticky tar covered portions of both my tires.

Before I rode over the bridge, I tried to get as much of the tar off as I could. As anyone who rides regularly knows, the tar would pick up any bits of glass or sharp rocks and hold them there until one of them punctures my tube. But because I like to travel light, I didn’t have anything to remove the tar. I had to use my hands.

As a UCSB alumnus, I know full well that the best way to remove tar from your skin is to use a bit of baby oil. You don’t need much, just enough to dilute the tar. Since there’s a drug store on nearly every block of this city, I stopped in to a Duane Reade and picked up the smallest bottle I could find. For $1.09, plus tax, I had my solution at hand, so to speak. Rub a quarter-sized dollop of baby oil into your hands and the tar comes right off. Be sure to have a cloth or paper towel at hand to clean up the mess.

A friend of mine suggested that I could use gasoline.

That might be good option, should this happen again, except for two reasons:

  1. Where can you find a gas station in Manhattan? There are almost none left.
  2. Sure, I would have been free of tar on my hands, but now I’d have gasoline on my hands. How do I get that off?

Besides, with baby oil, my hands are clean and moisturized. And they’re soft as a… well, you know…

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