Wheel Adventures

With the snow and thaw replaced by milder weather and rain, I have finally had to admit that the real reason I still had the spiky tyres on my back wheel was that I was putting off changing my back wheel as it was a real bugger to get done the last time. Somehow it’s been easier to just pump up the slow puncture every morning when I need to use my bike than to wrestle with switching wheels. But with the temperatures creeping into double figures, and with a biggish ride coming up today, I finally broke down, got the maintenance stand out (a task in itself, frankly, as it was designed to be used by someone with far more manly thumbs than I have) and changed the wheel, which, in the end, only took half an hour, a record for any bike maintenance task undertaken by me.

In fact, broken down in more detail, actually changing the wheel only took about 10 minutes, most of which was spent wishing for a third hand because actually getting a wheel on and off is one of those things which is easier with the bike upside down so that the stupid thing doesn’t slide out of the dropouts the minute you let go of it to pick up the spanner. The rest was spent as follows:

– assembling and disassembling the maintenance stand: 5 minutes
– searching for correct spanner: 2 minutes
– muttering ‘lefty loosy, righty tighty’, while turning the spanner the wrong way: 2 minutes
– wandering around the garage looking for the tool I had put down while cursing myself for not putting the tool down next to the pile of tools so I could find it again: 3 minutes
– finding the tool in the pile of tools where I had put it down so I wouldn’t lose it: 30 seconds
– putting chain back onto front cogs: 1 minute
– desperately searching for the horrible mechanical thing that was causing the drive train to jam with a worrying-sounding clunk after I’d got the chain back on: 2 minutes
– realising I’d left the kick stand deployed and it was jamming the pedals: 30 seconds
– cycling up and down the road in front of our house to test everything was working: probably far longer than was necessary but then again, this is the fun bit

There was also a lot of swearing and some whimpering with frustration but, crucially, no going into the house and asking for help, even when my feeble girly hands couldn’t at first get the wheel nuts undone (it turns out getting cross and shouting at them while giving it another go helps with this one). Even more crucially, I’ve since taken the bike on a 30+ mile ride with no problems, not even the usual one of realising I haven’t done the wheel up tight enough and it jamming.

So, onwards and upwards. Who knows, 2018 might even be the year I manage to crack the unassisted sub-60-minute puncture repair. Stranger things have happened. Even with Marathon Pluses.

11 Responses to Wheel Adventures

  1. anniebikes says:

    Ha ha, you sound like me. I cuss and fume and try to do everything myself, but in the end ask for a stronger pair of hands. I think 30 minutes is quick!

  2. I have super tough Michelin tyres on my shopping bike. I nearly cried the day I put them on. Unassisted yes but I lose points for putting the first one on backwards! Then fighting for what felt like four hours to take it off, turn it around so that the glaringly obvious arrows point in the direction of travel and put them back on. My poor thumbs. If those ever get a puncture, I’m buying new wheels.

  3. disgruntled says:

    Glad it’s not just me! I was expecting the comments to be the usual ones pointing me to Sheldon Brown or YouTube videos of people putting on Marathon Plus tyres.

    I have a theory that over the years bikes have been (unconsciously) optimised to be worked on by male hands, or at least strong ones. So I need to work out how to get stronger hands and arms, which is probably no bad thing! Or just practise until I get the knack …

  4. I know nothing about bikes and less about getting on one, but this really made me laugh. Good luck with the sub-60, but hope you never have to put it to the test 😉

  5. Charles says:

    My bike maintenance stand is still in its plastic bag….try buying tool with longer handles, leverage is everything, some Greek bloke figured it out some time ago, although he never did get around to moving the moon.

  6. Andy in Germany says:

    Hmm… I think I’ve experienced pretty well the entire sequence described above, despite being the proud owner of a ‘Y’ Chromosome.

    The thing with being male is that we are ‘supposed’ to intuitively be able to fix stuff like this, and feel inadequate when it doesn’t work first time. Of course, now I’m learning to train people I’m realising what a damn stupid idea this is, better late than never…

  7. Autolycus says:

    Cracking the puncture repair time: carry a spare and replace, repair the old one at your leisure (or at least comfortably indoors with a cuppa to hand), and make that your spare for the next time.

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