Thursday, 10 April 2014
My bike's had a very slow puncture on the back wheel. I think it might have been the valve, but anyway, I decided it would be best to replace the inner tube in the comfort of home, rather than be caught out somewhere on the road.
It sounds simple enough, but I managed to create a few problems for myself in the process. I took the back wheel off, let the remaining air out of the tyre and then used a tyre lever to start to ease the tyre off. It put up a bit of a struggle until I'd got about 30 cm of the tyre over the rim, but then I could get the tyre off from one side, pull out the old inner tube, look for anything untoward and then swap in a new inner tube.
In the comfort of garage (so to speak) I spotted a new tyre folded in a shiny box and decided to put that on to replace the one that had done several thousand miles.
So far so good.
Then to put the replacement tyre back on. It's supposed to be possible to do this with thumbs rather than the tyre levers. Hah!
Not my thumbs, they just couldn't manage it. Ten minutes of writhing and hand blackening, which I can remember from previous similar situations. I could have tried using plastic ties to keep the tyre in the middle of the wheel, but I decided to use a couple of tyre levers.
The tyre popped back on, and then I tried pumping it.
Yes, air was getting in, but then after about ten minutes, it was going out again. I realised I'd probably pinched the new inner tube, so undid the tyre again and realised it was so bad that I could hear air escaping with every pump.
Then I looked more closely at the new tyre.
I'd slightly wondered at the way the logo was kind of weathered when I was putting it on, thinking it must be a marketing/vintage thing.
But no. I realised that I'd actually just put on an old but clean tyre that I'd folded back into a convenient box. It was obviously a spare that I'd held on to for some reason.
This was becoming something of a downgrade situation. Now I had an old tyre and it was flat.
That was day one.
Next day, suited, I was walking around by Embankment tube station when a hidden force field guided me towards a nearby bike shop. I asked for an inner tube and the assistant shrewdly asked 'How many?'
I decided three should do it. And the cycling tractor beams had worked well. Just maybe a couple of proper new tyres as well? That way if I had to faff with the inner tubes, I might as well replace the highish mileage tyres at the same time.
Back home I dutifully removed the ex spare tyre and the dud inner tube. Put the new tyre half on, then the inner tube, then the other half of the tyre.
The last 10 cm was a problem again. I tried plastic ties this time to squish the tyre and got the tyre onto the rim without using levers. Pump up the tyre.
I'd somehow managed to make a hole in the second inner tube.
By now the red Bontrager tyre levers were becoming an indispensable accessory. This time I flipped the tyre off without much effort. Practice, I suppose was making it easier.
The second of the three new inner tubes was then deployed, and the tyre re-fitted again. I even had the tyre logo aligned with the valve.
This time it pumped up properly. 100psi. I put the wheel back on. It all worked.
That's the back tyre replaced plus a new inner tube.
That just leaves the front one.
Maybe next week.