30 November 2007

Zen and the arse of bicycle maintenance

I hope those who took part in today's 'Critical Commute' had a great time. I couldn't join, and the reason was simple: through lack of maintenance and pure neglect, I have worn my tyres out (particularly the rear one) and yesterday I seem to have reached tipping point - got not one but two punctures.

The first one got me on the way in, as I neared Manchester Cathedral. I changed the tube as quick as I could and very carefully went over the tyre, inside and out, looking for bits of glass, nails and such like. It was then I realised that my tyre, which looks perky on the sides, is actually far more worn out than I expected. In fact, it is a miracle it hasn't been getting punctures more often!. There are lots of cracks and cuts and bits of glass embedded into the rubber - I took as many out as I could with my little knife.

In the evening I got to Chetham Hill (ah, my favourite neighbourhood) before I noticed something was amiss. Yes, another puncture. I had another new inner tube but was loth to put it only to see it punctured by some embedded piece of glass I'd failed to detect (in daylight - what chance in the dark?).

I contacted 'Solis HQ' to see if a rescue mission could be mounted, but sadly, 'Support Team' was busy feeding the troops, so I had to examine other options. I could leave the bike chained against a post, take the bus home then come collect it. Too risky, I thought, so I opted for the 'pump and ride' option. It took me six stops to reach home, and twice as much time as it normally would.

So, new tyres are 'go'. I intend to give the bike a wash (turning it over made me realise how filthy it's got!) and, as we are at it, take it for a full service, ready for the winter.
And maybe then I won't miss the January Critical Commute - don't hold your breath though.

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