Jacking it in

It is a well-known fact that any cycling purchase related to the ahem slight downsides of cycling life work a powerful but temporary magic: waterproofs, for instance, can usher in a few days of fine weather, longer if they’re really expensive ones, whereas we buy anything like sunscreen or warm-weather gear at our peril. And it seems the magic also works on the puncture fairy for it’s been a full two months since I got this Christmas gift from my nephew and I only had to get it out of its packaging today.

tyre jack

Regular readers will be aware that my cycle maintenance history is one long struggle with repairing punctures (and please, I’ve been blogging about this as a female on the internet for over a decade now, so you can be certain I have had ALL THE ADVICE I need on the subject, no, really, and that includes the video with the zip ties) and specifically the joy of the Marathon Plus tyre. Over time I have painfully learned how to get the damn tyres off (involves swearing), the importance of checking the inside of the tyre for what caused the puncture (and how to get an embedded Bastard Big Thorn out of a Marathon Plus tyre), the length of time you can let a slow puncture go without having to do the walk of shame home (N-1 days, where N is the number of days you will try and leave it for), the fact that sometimes you will have TWO holes in your inner tube, the need to wait much much longer than you think for the patch glue to dry (this is a good time to start looking for what caused the hole and then doing battle with the embedded Bastard Big Thorn), the fact that fixing a flat tyre is so much more civilised – and actually easier – inside in the warm rather than outside in the cold, and latterly the fact that puncturing a repaired inner tube while attempting to wrestle a Marathon Plus tyre back onto your wheel is the easiest way to break a cyclist’s heart and/or morale.

Which is where the tyre jack comes in. I only discovered such a thing existed last year after a couple of failed puncture repair attemptes, put it on my Christmas list, and today I got to try it out in anger. Or rather, I thought I would – the problem was that it came with no instructions – how you actually get a tyre back on with it is apparently self explanatory unless you’re me. I called the other half in to see if he could figure it out and then went to see if there was a helpful video somewhere on line.

I can confirm that the way a tyre jack works is that in the time it takes for the average YouTuber to stop talking about things that aren’t how tyre jacks work and get around to demonstrating how they do work, your less mechanically declined husband will have worked it out and got the tyre back on (this is in fact how all the best bike maintenance tools work).

Meanwhile, some friends have left a fresh supply of Bastard Big Thorns outside our front door: gooseberry bushes to be precise.

pots with gooseberry plants in them

I shall be planting them well away from anywhere I might be cycling. The tyre jack is neat and all, but it’s not magic …

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