MMT had a dreadful trip to his friendly neighbourhood bike shop, Good Bikes’ last week. MMT’s venerable Wilier was making a few awful noises from the vicinity of the bottom bracket. May be it needed replacing as it had been ridden on for nearly six years. Similarly the left pedal was behaving very weirdly under power. All in all, it seemed high time for a service.
So MMT rode his Wilier to work and dropped the bike off. A few minutes of explanation ensured. The mechanic, Nathan, was advised to ring me if the price of repairs was exceeding $300. Nathan called MMT a few hours later and his news left MMT aghast. Apparently the rear rim was showing signs of cracking and needed replacing…..crap….Keep in mind that these were the $800 Campagnolo Zondas, bought just over 2 and half years ago.
Fortunately, MMT had kept the original Fulcrum rims. MMT had spent a frustrating Saturday afternoon, a few weeks ago, fitting spoke reflectors and had intended to use these as his winter wheels. So the Wilier stayed at the shop, until the old rims were retrieved and fitted. Nathan showed MMT the cracks and MMT was horrified at what he saw.
MMT reckons he’s done about 15,000km on these rims and can’t believe how these stress fractures have occurred. For starters, they are all on non-cassette side of the rim. One of them has cracked clean through, with clear daylight visible. MMT can only shudder at the thought of what may have happened had the spokes given way entirely.
This is the first blog MMT has written on his shiny new IPad Pro. MMT did the MS Cycle 2018 a few weekends ago. MMT has really enjoyed doing this ride over the last few years. It’s the only time a cyclist can legally cross the Westgate Bridge. As MMT rides almost exclusively an the south eastern side of Melbourne, the ride has enormous novelty value. MMT will write up a blog about the event, sometime soon.
No, the real reason MMT has drafted up this short blog is that his started to get punctures… again… sigh. In fact, he’s had 2 in 3 days. Its been at least 18 months since MMT has had one. MMT was beginning to think that the Bontrager AW3 tyres were impervious to punctures.
The first occurred as MMT was furiously pedaling up Kensington Road in Flemington. It is bloody annoying getting a flat halfway up a steep hill, in the bloody rain mind you. Judging by Strava, that hill is somewhere between 5% and 7%. MMT didn’t see what it was that caused the rear flat. It probably was a piece of glass or metal, maybe a nail.
The second flat occurred this morning need Beacon Cove store. MMT had finished his morning ride and was… luckily… only about 3/4 of a kilometre from home. Another rear tyre flat, this one occurred with a spectacular bang. MMT had exactly nailed a small but sharp piece of bitumen, resulting in pinch flat. A nearby pedestrian asked MMT if he was ok. The tyre popping must have been very loud. As a nearby pedestrian asked if I was ok.
Sunday’s puncture took 20 minutes to fix, so MNT pushed his beloved Trek back home. This was going to be much quicker. Later that day MMT purchased a new tyre at Cycles Galleria. Removal of the old tyre revealed a hole the size of a 10 cent piece.
Alas, I’ve been busy at work and sick…sigh…again, resulting in this blog being sadly neglected….Booooooo!!!!!!!!. However its a quiet Friday afternoon and all my co-workers have nicked off early so I’m doing some blogging. This blog is a bit of hack job/outright theft of an article I read in the May 2017 version of Bicycle Times. Hopefully the publisher’s lawyers won’t be pursuing me for copyright/IP theft :-).
No matter, this article resonated with MMT as he was wondering what the hell to do with all the old and crappy inner tubes he has. The question being, if a tube has been patched 3 or 4 times, isn’t it time to let it go? In this age of recycling shouldn’t there be another use for these things. Well this arch-plagiarist thinks so. So here’s five really cool uses of old inner tubes.
Tie Down Straps
Go to a camping store and find some 1 inch buckles. A 28mm tube should thread through fairly easily. They are perfect for strapping things down to a rack, securing items to your handle bars or pretty much anything you might use a bungee cord for.
These can be used to hold new inner tubes, holding tools together so they don’t rattle or even holding a flashlight on the handle bars. Mountain bike tubes seems to work best.
This one requires a bit more work. Find some velcro, super glue and a length of rubber. Figure out the right length for securing your pants/jeans. Alternately, you could sow the velcro on instead.
Protective Chain Cover
This is an awesome idea. Thread your locking chain through the tube to stop it from scratching the bike frame or some other part.
This really surprised MMT. Cut the length ways into strips of about 1 cm wide. Follow the ribs of the tube so they are straight. Cut them to length. Most laces are of the 55cm to 75cm variety. Thread them through and tie them up. You should be able to slip them on without untying them.
Now MMT did a smidge more research care of Google and found another set of interesting uses:
Fire starters: An inch-long bit wrapped around some kindling will start a fire, even in the rain.
Keep a bit of inner tube on your handlebars. Put it over the brake, locking your bike wheel, very useful when taking your bike on a train or bus.
Bits of inner tube make a great cushion between various attachments on your bike, much better than the insets that come with the items.
Wrap your D-Lock in inner tube to prevent damage to your bicycle’s paint.
Put inner tube on your rack. Your panniers will then fit perfectly and won’t rattle.
Inner tube make a great seal. It can be used to make lights waterproof.
Use as a seal round fuel or water bottles to stop them leaking
Here’s my first blog entry for 2016. Back in October 2015, the Missus and I had a 4 week European Holiday that included a few days in London. I spent more than a few hours visiting a list of bike shops and scooping up bargains were I could find them. One of the best shops was a café that I used to frequent when I lived in London. In fact, I can remember when it opened in 2010. Tired of really crappy coffee offered by Starbucks, Costa and Café Nero, I was becoming quite desperate for a decent Australian style latte or flat white.
Fortunately, ‘Look Ma No Hands’ opened up and offered much better coffee crafted by staff that had a much better understanding of their expresso machine. The shop had free wifi, a sunny aspect and a fledgling bicycle workshop. Also, it showed old 70’s & 80’s TV coverage of the grand tours and monuments. It was mainly frequented by students and bicycle couriers with the occasional suited trespasser like me.
So when I dragged my footsore wife from Old Street Tube Station to the there in late October 2015, it was with fond memories and quiet hope that it hadn’t changed much over. I checked out the Café’s website and it seemed very promising. Happily, reality for once matched the glamour and gloss of website. The café was full of people viewing a crowd sourcing pitch for short film about how cycling was helping a young man get the better of his clinical depression.
The coffee was much better than I remembered it and we spent a lazy 45 minutes soaking up the vibe and trying on shop branded merchandise. I purchased a short sleeve jersey and cap. Both have been given a few test rides and have passed the ‘marv’ test with flying colours. Its kind of cool to own a jersey that no one in Melbourne has or at least I haven’t seen on the back of another rouleur around my locale.
So to quote ‘Molly’ Meldrum and that irritating TV ad that’s on high rotation at the moment, when you are next in London ‘Do your self a favour’ and visit one of the great cycling cafes in the UK, Look Ma No Hands.