It has been a while. MMT has been decompressing from an awful AFL season, work, 2 weeks of non-COVID respiratory illness and child induced deprivation. Much to his surprise he’s discovered that nearly 2 months has passed since his last blog entry. It really does seem such a long, long time ago. In that time, the La Vuelta, Olympics, UCI World Championships and….finally an actual Paris-Roubaix with rain and mud, have occurred. MMT will spend some mulling that over in a future blog.
However what is really on MMT’s mind is bicycle maintenance, bike shops, Shimano parts and COVID…again. MMT took his beloved Trek Domane SLR 6 in for a service, after an irritating creaking noise started a 3 month old replacement bottom bracket. MMT figured that some crud had flicked up off the road and strategically landed in the bearings. Sadly this turned out to be worn out crankset that simply wasn’t sitting on the bearings correctly. Mine you it took MMT to chase up the said bike shop to find that out.
Whilst chasing up bike shops to do their jobs, isn’t a new experience for MMT, being told that he had no hope in the short term of replacing the Shimano Ultegra 50-34t with similar model. Shimano has no available parts in Australia and there was no indication when they would be come available. Surprise!!! its been seriously impacted by COVID. A quick Google seemed to confirm that no one local seemed to have them either. Instead the said bike offered a silver Durace 53-39t….WTF. The good news is that crank is $400 and could be resold, the bad news is that it doesn’t match the rest of the group set in brand or colour and will be an absolute bitch to pedal up hill….sigh.
So with had recent experience MMT returned to the solace of the wonderful cycling cartoonist Dave Walker. Here’s what Dave drew that exactly capture the ripped off feeling MMT has.
MMT seems to be practising acceptance in lieu of the alternative which means putting the Domane up on a rack in the garage until parts become available. Levels of fury indeed.
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