Category Archives: Maintenance

Bike maintenance is key activity in your love life with your trusty machine.

Marv’s Law of Bicycle Punctures….Revisited

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Dear Roulers,

I had intended to write a wrap up of the Giro 2015 and list of where all the surviving Australians placed.  I will digress briefly to contgratulate Luke Durbridge for his second place in Stage 21.  However, this blog is about the new clause I’m adding to my eponymous law of bicycle punctures.  For the record this is second one in 3 weeks.  Its winter, its wet and there is all sorts of crap on the roads at the moment, so therefore its not unexpected.

So this morning I’m keen to do a medium paced, for me at least, 30km. The conditions are cold, wet and windless, in other words perfect for an early morning ride. I set off slowly, I’m still getting used to the SPD-SL clip in-action.  They are super-slippery in wet conditions.  I arrive at the second most irritating traffic lights in Port Melbourne, on the corner of Beaconsfield Parade and Pickles St, when I notice that horrible ride feeling of quickly deflated rear tyre…..sigh.

I’m still a bit sleepy and still warming up.  Consequently I’m mildly annoyed, however as I said before, its not unexpected. After a fit of the fumbles I managed to swap the inner tube over.  I start pumping air into the tyre when I realise …horror… nothing is happening.  I recheck the pump and its seal on the valve.  Then I realise that my new replacement tube has a faulty valve and that I do not have another spare or a repair kit.  Now I’m cold and really irritated.  I trudge back 1.5km back to my house, no doubt mangling the SPD-SL cleats.  I have no choice.  Its this or bare foot which on a wet, cold morning was unthinkable.

So lets go back to the law:

Clause (i) If you are going to get a puncture, it will be at most inconvenient time – Tick -> early morning was very irritating.

Clause (ii) It is inevitable that you will have more punctures on your back wheel – Tick -> back wheel it was.

Clause (iii) It more likely that you will have rear puncture when you haven’t cleaned your rear running gear and/or are wearing new clothing – Cross -> I had just cleaned by gears and I didn’t have new clothing on.

Clause (iv) It is more likely that you will get a puncture when it rains – Tick -> Yep it had rained heavily overnight.

Clause (v) It is more likely that you will get a puncture and then have the weather turn bad with heavy showers making your machine’s parts that much harder to handle. Tick -> It was wet and cold.

Clause (vi) It is more likely that you will get a puncture when you are riding alone when there is no one to help you. Tick -> Yep, I was alone.

Clause (vii) It is more likely that you will get a puncture, if you are stupid enough to boast about never getting one.  Cross -> Nope, I never thought this or said it out loud.

Not bad validation so far, now for another clause,

Clause (viii) It is more likely that you will get a puncture when you have a dud spare, for example one with a faulty valve and no other way of fixing the puncture. Tick -> Yep, this was very F%&#king irritating.

Until next time,

Marv

Richie Porte, Wheelgate and Emergency Repairs

 

Dear Roulers,

Not much seems to be going right for Team Sky’s Richie Porte at the Giro.  He has been docked two minutes by the race jury after he received an illegal wheel change from Orica-GreenEdge‘s Simon Clarke following his puncture in the closing kilometres of stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia.  Porte punctured with seven kilometres remaining and lost 47 seconds to the main peloton, despite the wheel offered by Clarke and the assistance later provided by GreenEdge’s Michael Matthews during the chase effort.  Man doesn’t that suck.    I wonder would that have happened between Aru and some other Italian rider?

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Also is it my imagination or is Orica-GreenEdge giving him more help than his own team?….AND WHAT EXACTLY IS THE SKY RIDER IN THE FRONT OF THE PHOTO DOING?? Given that he’s out of contract at the end of this year, are GreenEdge sending not so subtle messages about which team he should ride for next year.  Time will tell.

Given Richie’s faux pas, it triggered some thinking on my part about what else he could have done to effect an emergency repair and then in general about emergency repairs.

Here’s my bumper list of emergency repairs you could do by the side of the road:

Split Tyre No tyre patches…no problem.  Wrap strong paper, plastic sheeting around the tube inside the tyre.  Wrapping tape around the tyre with tape or part of an old inner tube may help.  Remember to disable the brakes or remove the brake blocks, otherwise the tyre won’t spin freely.
No Spare Tubes You’ll love this.  Tie a knot in the tyre on the hole.  You may be able to inflate the tyre hard enough to be able to ride.  Plan B is stuff the tyre with lots of grass and spare filling such as paper.  This is hard to do and it may be more time effective to walk to help.
Broken Gears I wish has known this a few months ago….if you break the rear derailleur, shorten the chain and remove or bypass the gears.  This will result in a single speed bike. Riding will always be quicker than walking.
Snapped Gear Cable Thank God I’ve never had this happen…screw down the ‘high adjuster’ screw on the gear mechanism, so that the chain is one of the middle sprockets.  You should be able to keep going , especially if the front derailleur is still working.  If the front cable breaks, repeat the fix and put the chain on to the smaller chain ring.
Freewheel Failure I didn’t even know that this could happen…however, use zip-tie to secure the sprockets to the spokes of the back wheel.  Be really careful as you are now riding a fixed wheel track bike.  Be very careful applying the brakes.  Provided you are careful, there’s a really good chance you’ll make to assistance.
Cracked frames or forks Again if they are carbon or aluminium forget it…if its steel or titanium based you’ve got half a chance of bending it back into shape. If you cracks in your frame, again gaffer tape and strong pieces of wood may be enough to hold the frame together long enough to reach assistance.
Bent Rims Hopefully it goes without saying this won’t work with carbon wheels.   Emergency straightening can be carried out by standing on them or leaning on them against a gutter or manhole.  You’ll have to disable the brakes.  Toss the rim when you get home.
Broken Seat Post 2 fixes that you might be able to try, depending on where the break is on the post.  The most obvious action…drop the seat post until decent portion is in the seat tube, uncomfortable but doable.  Second, find a piece of wood or tree branch that can be jammed into the two halves.  Brace the saddle to the top tube or seat stays by using gaffer tape  or straps.

Hopefully you’ll never have to use any of these.

Until next time

Marv

The moral dilemma of the shop demo replacement bike

Dear Roulers,

It’s official I’m still waiting on my Villier, that’s in the workshop at Freedom Machine, waiting for that pesky Campagnolo rear derailleur.  For whatever reason, this part seems to be very difficult to track down.  It has been two weeks and I’m becoming very twitchy.  I assume it is some type of withdrawal symptom.  Which brings me to the major moral dilemma of my cycling life, whether to succumb to the forbidden fruit of the shop demo bike.

Trek Domane S5.2, demo bike care of Freedom Machine

Trek Domane S5.2, demo bike care of Freedom Machine

It was the second time I was offered the demo bike.  What didn’t realise was that it was serious roadbike, well over twice the cost of my Villier. OMG what a bike. It’s a matt black 2013 Trek  Domane 5.2 and it is beautiful.  It’s the first time I’ve ever ridden a full carbon fibre framed bike.  At first it’s a bit weird as its very light and super responsive in steering and acceleration.

I’ve always wondered whether the reviews I’ve read of high performance road bikes were a bit like snobby  wine reviews where the sommelier makes seemingly abstract and obscure claims about the relative merits of a wine.  For example http://www.bikerumor.com/2012/07/03/review-2013-trek-domane-endurance-road-bike/

However the bike that was designed for Fabian Cancellara and the classics doesn’t disappoint.  Its absolutely true that the bike soaks up the lumps and bumps on the road. There is almost no vibration coming into the handle bars. It’s also much kinder on my back as the riding position is a bit more upright, as you would expect in an endurance focused bike.  I now understand all the fuss over the Shimano Ultegra.  The gear shifting was faultless.

The 38km I did on it today was relatively effortless and in word… smooth. So does this mean I’m now cheating on my Villier and fallen for a high spec Trek?  More importantly how do I scrape together $4000 to by one?

Until next time.

PS Before I forget I’ve completed 697km in 6 weeks, which means I’m 14% of my 5000km goal.

The correct number of bikes to own

Dear Roulers,

I’ve been having a terrible run of outs with mechanical failures.  My Villier still isn’t back from the workshop due to the non-arrival of parts from whoever the local Conagolo dealer is….bummer.  The yesterday on my afternoon commute home I discovered that the back wheel of Cannondale has a whopping big buckle.

I’ll be buggered if I can figure out how exactly, I did that.  The buckle was so bad that it felt like the hub may have been shot.  Either way I’m be experiencing my own personal walk of shame to the bike shop with yet another tale of woe.  20141020-GiantSedona-SMLHowever the upside is that I still do have a third string bike, my Giant Sedona, purchased in 1997, that bike is heading towards 20 years old. The only bits that I’ve replaced on it have been the saddle twice, the pedals for some shiny one sided SPD clip-ins, the bottle cage and grippy tyres for some slicks.  Its showing signs of age with scratches and rust marks, but it’s still going strong.

I took it out for a ride with my wife this morning and was able to keep up with her on her much newer Giant Defy.  It must have looked a bit odd to the passing pelotons. It’s amazing the difference in power you can put into the bottom bracket of rigid frame bike.  By comparison the head shok Cannondale seemed to be about 2 to 3km slower on the same ride last week. All I can say is thank God I ignored my wife and kept my third string bike. It simply reminds me of the often quoted Velominati law of bike ownership ->

 Rule #12: The correct number of bikes to own is n+1

On http://abicycleculture.tumblr.com/, I found a variation of the law provided by Corkgrips, who clearly has the same domestic “issues”, that I have:

While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned.  This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner….from Velominati’s Rules

Until next time, see you on the roads.