Bike Maintenance Achievement Unlocked

Pedalling back from Bigtown during today’s temporary cessation of hostilities on the part of the Weather Gods, I stopped to enquire whether the cyclist who had stopped at the side of the road was okay.

“Not exactly,” she said. “I seem to have a flat tyre”.

Now, I always stop and ask if I can help when I see a cyclist by the side of the road, because it just seems wrong not to, but I have to confess, I’m usually relieved when they wave me on. The odds of a stranded cyclist having something wrong with their bike that is so simple that I can fix it, but not so simple that anybody else can’t fix it, AND it requiring the somewhat patchy content of my toolkit (tyre levers, patches, dumbell spanner, cheering-up sweeties, wrong size of allen key and usually no pump due to the iron law that you’ll always have left your pump in your other bike bag), are pretty long. But it turned out today that she had a pump and a spare inner tube, but no tyre levers, and the theory but no actual experience of changing a flat tyre. Between us, then, we made an awesome team. We extracted not one but two Bastard Big Thorns out of her tyre (one of them was so large I suggested she get it stuffed and mounted) and she was back up and running just in time for a man to cycle past, notice the two extremely competent females dealing with the problem, and pedal on with barely a hitch in his cadence. She was happy that she now felt she could deal with a puncture herself (a good thing, as hedge-cutting season is in full swing and nothing is proof against Bastard Big Thorns) and I was delighted to have cancelled out my woeful performance on Saturday, and also made a slight dent in the giant debt I have accrued from all the times someone else has helped me with my bike.

November afternoon

It has also reminded me that I should probably go and put the pump back in my main bike bag and track down the right size of allen key, because if this post isn’t an irresistible temptation to the Puncture Fairy, I don’t know what is.

10 Responses to Bike Maintenance Achievement Unlocked

  1. Lizziel says:

    Ha ha, love it! Jolly well done. I have mended punctures but have yet to do one at the roadside! I usually stop and ask cyclists this as well, with the same sort of thoughts that you have! Once it was a group, and, not wishing to pass if I could be of any help at all, I asked the question, and got looked at as if to say – what could YOU possibly do to help – and my assistance was, in a rather unkind way, declined.. But on at least two other occasions it has resulted in a nice chat.

  2. Charles says:

    Go and buy a pump for each bag. In the last three days I have left my hat in the library, left my wallet behind while going shopping and left my keys behind. Fortunately my wife had her keys but she now regards me as special needs. Given that out son has lived in care since the age of 9 this is worrying. My wife is one who knows. Congratulations on the rescue of fellow cyclist, you have gained karma points. May I borrow them for yoga tomorrow?

  3. Well done – I think keeping the spare male cyclist to pass just as you finish should be another essential part of your maintenance kit.

  4. anniebikes says:

    I love this. Bravo ladies!

  5. disgruntled says:

    @Lizzie – TBH, I’d probably pass a group without asking as at least they have each other, unless they looked as if they were looking around for help
    @Charles – do you know, I hadn’t thought of this, but it’s a good idea
    @RP – the timing was quite satisfying.
    @Annie – I’m just dreading it being something I can’t fix next time and then I’ll have to take it all back …

  6. Mike says:

    One dequately equipped saddlebag and decent minpump per per bike is what you need, that way you never need to worry.

  7. Dead Deer says:

    Love it!

    I also always stop to ask if I see a cyclist in trouble. They have ALWAYS said “no I’m fine”, which I assume is because the intense look of panic on my face when I ask – they can immediately tell exactly how much use I’d be….

  8. […] 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 of […]

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