as adrian belew can be clearly heard to say in 'thela hun ginjeet' on king crimson's 1981 album, discipline, "this is a dangerous place" and as far as the bicycle is concerned, that's about to become particularly true. though we notionally bandy about words such as 'spring' and 'summer', in truth, based on this year in particular, there was really very little to distinguish either from their predecessor 'winter'. we have long joked in the hebrides that the only way to tell summer from winter is that the rain gets warmer.
to compound this perhaps strained monologue, only this past week i read a quote on twitter where a participant in an outdoor activity was offered a raincoat due to the weather, but declined on the basis that he was a scotsman. there is a certain irony in my pointing out that, as i write, the sun is splitting the paving stones in the back garden and i have been able to wear the lapel jacket that saw only two previous outings during the past three months. it is, however, more than likely the (very pleasant) calm before the storm.
and when that storm comes, as it inevitably will, we will all be reaching for the wind and waterproofs at the back of the cycling wardrobe, while instructing the domestiques to pack away anything with short sleeves and less than super-roubaix lined shorts and tights. i already have sets of long-fingered gloves at the ready; one to wear into the maelstrom and a spare pair which might be worn on the return from froth supping at deb's. i very much doubt i am alone in my pessimism towards the inevitable.
but what of the trusty steed? i'm well aware that despite only brief flashes of shiny weather, i have spent the majority of the last few months riding the bicycles that are devoid of mudguards/fenders. the full wood fendered cielo has patiently sat at the rear of the bikeshed, sans pedals for much of the time (i needed them on a review bike for a short period), knowing full well that its time would arrive sooner rather than later. and that its day(s) in the rain would also last for what seems like a very long time.
comparable to neatly folding the lightweight summer-wear ready for winter hibernation, those unencumbered bicycles (excluding the 'cross bike of course; its days are now) should not be left to fester in the cold. there are components that will not be talking to you next easter should you ignore them at this particular moment in time. in other words, whatever the weather is doing outside, this is now officially fettling season and in order to fettle, certain tools will be required. if only we could remember where we put them at this time last year.
for those who either can be less than troubled to go hunting the inner recesses of the bikeshed, filled with darkened corners as it is, or more pertinently, for those devoid of toolkit, today's special buy sale at aldi's might have the very solution for which you search. and at a price that makes an iphone look expensive.
the bikemate toolkit which arrives in a molded plastic case, with each tool or set of tools fitted neatly in individual slots, offers a total of 18 ideal items for bike fettling, including a chain whip that fits everything from seven to eleven sprocket cassettes, a spanner to fit outboard b/b cups, a triangular spoke key device and even a chain rivet tool that will cheerfully cope with shimano's eleven speed chains.
and rather obviously, though unexpectedly, a puncture repair kit.
at a price of £19.99 it would be a tad foolish to think that the enclosed tools would be the ideal basis with which to setup a professional cycle repair workshop, but for the occasional use to which we're likely to put them, they seem more than adequately robust. however, a bit like letting a schoolkid loose with an argon laser, if you're bereft of mechanical skill or knowledge, i'd recommend spending a few more pounds on a reputable maintenance manual. there ought to be one or two reviews from the list on the lower portion of this page that would stand you in good stead.
as mentioned in my last aldi clothing review, these special buys don't last forever, so if you've a notion to become an inveterate fettler, get to your nearest aldi store pretty quick smart.
thursday 1 october 2015..........................................................................................................................................................................................................