The Joy of Bike Maintenance

OK, so when you buy Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres (because the whole internet tells you to) you know that their only downside is getting them on and off the bike – but that’s OK because they’re Schwalbe Marathon Pluses and (as the whole internet knows) you don’t need to ever take them off the bike because they don’t puncture. Until suddenly they do

Anyway it turns out there are two ways to get a Marathon Plus tyre off a wheel which are: feebly asking your other half to do it, and then just knuckling down and doing it yourself with tyre irons and a fair amount of swearing. The latter after you’ve erroneously assumed that the spare inner tube that was in the shed had been efficiently repaired by your past self after the last puncture and not put away still punctured to be repaired later when your past self was less busy and then forgotten about because you now had Schwalbe Marathon Pluses which, as every schoolboy kno, don’t ever puncture. Until, you know, they do.

So now I have three repaired inner tubes, including the one which is back on the bike, and we have used up an entire puncture repair kit’s worth of rubber cement, which feels like some sort of make-do-and-mend victory. Getting the tyres back on proved to be difficult but not impossible with two of us plus some brute force (him) and ignorance (me, playing the part of the cable ties). The pump is now permanently installed in my pannier bag, my mobile phone firmly zipped into my pocket and the other half has been instructed to wait poised by the phone in case I ever need rescuing whenever I’m out on my bike. None of which, I’m sure, will do anything but postpone the attentions of the puncture fairy…

But as I rode out for the paper on my freshly repaired bike, I was reminded that if you clean and oil your chain and pump up your tyres properly, and remove roughly a smallholding’s-worth of fine agricultural loam from under your mudguard then your bike suddenly will sail along as smoothly and speedily as a bird on the wing, a joy to pedal and a delight to ride.

Or at least up until the point until you reach the papershop and turn around and discover that was mostly the effect of a tailwind…


6 Responses to The Joy of Bike Maintenance

  1. commuterjohn says:

    I am trying hard to imagine you as a pair of cable ties……….hmmm!

  2. Bob says:

    Ugh. I haven’t had to change a bike flat in a long, long while. When we were in the Netherlands, I had this brilliant idea to change out the inner-tube of an old reliable that our landlord had left behind for our use. It was a slow leak that eventually became an annoyance that I could no longer tolerate.
    I went out and purchased an inner-tube (it’s a ‘binnenband’ in Dutch, in case you needed to know that) and was all set to go, when I realised that I might very well not be able to get the contraption put back together again. It was the rear tire….
    I put the bike in the car, took it to a nearby bike shop (not hard to locate in the Netherlands) and then next day, and €25 later, it was all taken care of.

  3. disgruntled says:

    @john – that may have been exaggerating my usefulness
    @Bob – full chain case and hub gear? Best left to the professionals…

  4. Jo says:

    Tailwinds are great if you know you’ve got one but oh so demoralising if you don’t.

  5. disgruntled says:

    by law, they should only be allowed on the ride home

  6. patrick says:

    Anything is easy when you know how to do it.

    I hope this is useful…

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