Getting Shirty

All this sourdough and gardening is all very well, I hear* you cry – but what of your plans to get better at bike maintenance in 2018?

Well – I have news, of sorts. One advantage of the current weather (it’s spring! It’s winter! It’s getting warmer! Fooled you, it’s minus five!) is that I’ve got almost speedy at swapping my winter wheels on and off, at least the front one. and the bike is booked in for a service tomorrow, and high on the list of things to be done are getting a new back wheel that’s the same width as the front wheel (and my winter wheel), and getting new brakes that don’t get jammed on and have a quick release for speedier wheel swapping (hopefully they won’t also result in me ending up headfirst in a ditch as I’m not that used to super effective brakes that actually, you know, stop the bike)

Today, it being sunny, if not exactly warm, I thought I’d better give the bike a quick wash and also put all the tools back in my tool roll having taken them all out the last time I switched the wheels round. They had been wrapped up in a bit of old shirt to stop them rattling and provide something to wipe the worst of the grease off with, but that had died a death, so I finally got around to pulling a new old shirt out of the pile of shirts to go into the garage to act as rags.

In fact, this was one of my favourite shirts ever, despite costing £2 at Elephant and Castle market, and I had only stopped wearing it once its initial ‘shabby chic’ (humour me) vibe had passed through to ‘shabby’ and then ‘possibly homeless’. So rather than just cutting it up as a rag, I put a little bit more thought into it and decided to utilise the pocket (this was part of why I liked it so much – pockets!) and button hole to make a nice inner tool roll insert:

cut up shirt

This is about as crafty as I get, so humour me here.

assembled tools

Slightly random assortment of tools.

With the tools in place I rolled it up and sewed a button on so it could be buttoned closed using the existing button hole. (I’d like to say that this was the work of seconds, but it turns out I’m as embarrassingly rubbish at sewing as I am at bike maintenance)

tool roll buttoned up

Once installed, it almost looks as if it was the sort of thing you could buy for £25 from Brooks as an accessory for your tool roll.

tool roll with insert

There being a little space left, I added a handful of these in the corners – I can’t remember where I read the tip about having sweets in with your bike tools for those moments when you’re trying to refit a Marathon Plus tyre by the side of the road in a howling gale in November, but it struck me as very sound advice.

coffee sweets

Final bike maintenance essential (along with a tenner for a taxi home)

I’m now hoping that Sod’s Law means all this preparation will guarantee I don’t get to use my tools again … but I’ve a feeling it doesn’t quite work that way.

*OK, so I made this up.

11 Responses to Getting Shirty

  1. welshcyclist says:

    Fabulous DIY and logic, cheers.

  2. I LOVE how you’ve upcycled that shirt! It’s just the sort of thing my late dad would have done…

  3. Charles says:

    My father had the spanner with the spheres at each end with holes for different nuts and bolts. Is it an old friend or a modern find? They are rather fun.

    My mother gave me a bike maintenance stand for Christmas, it was that or a rhubarb forcing jar, and I have still to get round to it….

  4. “New old shirt” — haha!!

  5. disgruntled says:

    Thanks all
    @Charles – no idea where the dumbbell spanner came from but it’s handy for fitting in the tool roll.
    @Stephani – it’s a terracotta pot you put over your rhubarb as it grows to keep it pale and less strong tasting (and I think to make it sprout earlier)

  6. Very impressive, as was our sons form teacher who taught them how to sew buttons, during their final 6th form year. Life skills….

  7. I should add Mr Uhdd had already taught the bike repair bit…

  8. disgruntled says:

    Ha! did they cover laundry as well?

  9. […] my other resolution, which was to get better at bike maintenance. To be honest – despite one or two minor successes – hasn’t gone so well. Indeed, I have to confess that a couple […]

  10. […] I actually live this tends to involve wearing stuff until I’m in danger of passing strangers giving me their spare change. So I was quite pleased to not just get round to tackling the repair but doing a reasonable-looking […]

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