Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Me doing bike maintenance?

As the saying goes, "needs must".

Did my normal commute to work last Thursday evening, I was nights, and got a puncture in my rear tyre about a third of a mile from my work. As I'm a very poor handyman, at the best of times, I decided to walk the rest of the way, pushing the Subway 1. Got there O.K., I'm normally 15-20 minutes early, when I ride the bike, in order to cater for any mishaps on the way, I'd hate it, that I should delay my colleagues from going home on time.

The great news is, I fixed the puncture, and got the bike back together during my breaks overnight. What's more, it all held up for my journey back home, in the morning. Feeling rather pleased with myself, I decided to ride in early the next day (Friday), as the sun was out, I thought I'd cycle along the seafront at Aberavon. When I arrived at roughly the same spot as the day before, the rear tyre punctured again!

So another 15 minute walk to complete my journey.

Once again I was busy during my breaks, but things didn't go so well as they had the previous evening. Checking the inner tube, I found the puncture was right in the middle of the patch I'd used the night before. Quite a coincidence, I mean what were the chances of that happening? I thought to myself. Putting it down to just that, a flukey coincidence, I removed the patch and put a new one on. Wrong!!!

When I pumped it up it seemed fine, so I deflated and inserted it back into the tyre. and pumped it up, ready for the morning. Half an hour or so later, I felt the tyre, only to find it had gone down. So I went through the whole procedure again, to find the inner tube had been holed again, but on the inside, directly opposite, the new patch I'd put on. Presumably, my first repair, the night before had left some sharp debris inside the tyre, or probably in the inner tube itself, that caused the patch to be pierced, and now the inner wall as well.

So I put another patch on this new puncture, and pumped up the tube, but this time I left it, to see if it would stay inflated. Sadly, when I did check it later it had gone down. I wasn't prepared to go through the rigaramole again so I got out a brand new spare inner tube from my pannier bag, and pumped it up, to check it was O.K.. I then pumped up the original again, intending to find the "new" puncture. I couldn't find any hole in it, and it remained inflated ? I put it down to a temporary problem with the valve, because it stayed up all night. Meanwhile, I put the new inner tube into my back tyre, and made it home again on that. Of course, I still have a spare inner tube, albeit it has two patches on it.

Gosh it has taken a long time to explain all that, I hope it all makes sense.

They say practise makes perfect, I know I'm faraway from perfect, but those two nights mending punctures, going through the procedures etc., has made me alot more confident of dealing with them in the future.

4 comments:

2whls3spds said...

I patch tubes...but then again I have some Scots in me...

Tube patching is a necessary skill if bike shops are few and far between. I have had a few rides were 4 or 5 patches were the order of the day. Not recently since the advent of kevlar belted tires.

Aaron

Nick said...

A small tip - you also need to check the tyre itself to make sure there's nothing still stuck in it that might cause the tube to puncture again. I know, because in the past I've suffered by not doing this!

welshcyclist said...

Well 2whls3spds, it sounds like you are well capable fixing punctures, and out on the road at that. Me I'm still struggling to get them done inside at work or at home, I suspect I'll be ringing for help, if ever I suffer a puncture, on the road, in the dark, when it's just too far to walk.

welshcyclist said...

Thankyou Nick, I'll try to remember your tip. Sadly, there isn't a mechanical bone in my body, the last puncture which took me so long to repair, saw me replace the tyre with the rotationa arrow pointing the wrong way! The result, my commute home took 1 hour 50minutes, instead of my usual 1 hour 30 minutes, and I was worn out. Consequently, I had, yet again, to go through the procedure of taking off the rear wheel and tyre, and replace them, with the tyre the correct way round. Still I suppose living is all about learning, problem I'm 59next Monday, and I'm still only learning how to deal with punctures now. I don't remember ever having a flat tyre when I was a kid, and I rode a bike constantly, between the ages of 10 and 16 ? Perhaps that has alot to say about the detritus on our roads/paths today, compared to 40 odd years ago. As a cyclist, I tend to look out for glass etc., so as not to endanger my tyres, and the truth is, it's all over the place. Particularly on cyclepaths, which makes me think there are some naredowells in abundance out there, who are happy to spoil others enjoyment. Whoops, sorry I've started to get up on my soapbox!! What would you do about such people, does it happen in your part of the world?