Gotta Winterize This Bike
You know how bad luck happens in threes? Well I’m waiting for the third.
A couple of weeks ago, I was congratulating myself on having gone at least a year without a puncture. The Gods were obviously listening, ‘cos soon after that I got a superb flat in my Sturdy Commuting Bike, Wilf’s, rear tyre. At some point I’d ridden over a staple, which had punched three holes in the inner tube. How? I just don’t know.
So I’d replaced the tube, filling the new one with slime again. I use this on my Sturdy Commuting Bike because if I do get a flat on my way to a meeting, I don’t want to have to stop to fix it. The slime doesn’t completely fix the puncture . . . but it fixes it good enough to get me to wherever I’m going, and probably home again.
So on Monday, I set off to visit my clients in Walker. Setting off late, of course, because . . . well, it was Monday morning, and I’d had a hard day on Sunday watching other people doing amazing cycling things on Twitter. You’ve no idea how hard it can be to watch. I wasn’t properly late of course - that would be disrespectful. No, just late enough to have to work for my arrival.
I got to the end of our back lane, and heard the familiar “hissss sput sput hiiss” of a slime-filled tyre that’s been holed, coupled with that lovely smell of two week-old stale air from inside a tube.
Rats! I fill the tyres with slime to get me where I’m going in an emergency, when the alternative would be to fix the problem at the roadside & end up with grease, oil, and brake grime all over my hands (which isn’t so good for schmoozing clients). When this close to home, ignoring the problem comes under the heading of “Asking For Trouble”.
I got back home, and had one of those dither moments. Drive? Ride another bike? The riding won over, and I ran back indoors to change luggage - Wilf has a rack for my Ortlieb Officebag, while Trixie The Fixie is a little more stripped down. So I ended up with a rucksack, containing my Macbook, power adaptor, cables, books, waterproof jacket, lunch, and D-Lock. No problem at all when the bike’s carrying this sort of weight, but not so good on your back.
I was about 2 miles out when I realised that there was actually quite a persistent headwind, and my expedition-packed rucksack was acting like a sail. Oh, and the roads were still damp from the overnight rain, so I was getting the tarmac bidet treatment from the tyres. And I may actually be getting too old for those bull-horn handlebars, which for the first time seemed uncomfortable. Maybe it was just the wind.
All in all, my 30-35 minute journey took nearer to 50, including the bike swap.
So my mission for this week is to winterize Trixie The Fixie. Mudguards, upright seating position, and a rack. Of course, seeing as I’m en engineer, I’ve set myself the challenge of doing this without spending any money.
Visiting a client this Friday who just happens to employ the best aluminium welder I’ve ever met - wonder if he’s got any of the right sort of bar stock to knock up a carrier for me . . . ?
- Type: Cycle
- Date: 11/10/2008
- Total Time: 1:10:00.00
- Distance: 17.5 miles
- Average Speed: 15 mph