i can repair an inner tube with the minimum of faff, but in all honesty, i'd far rather just replace the darned thing, simply for peace of mind. all that dipping the tube in a bowl of water to find the hole, marking it with yellow crayon, then drying it off before abraiding the surface slightly prior to squidging far more rubber solution than is seemly in polite company. after probably not leaving it long enough to become appropriately tacky, plopping on a decent sized patch then dusting the area with chalk dust to prevent it inadvertantly adhering to the inside of the tyre. far simpler to bung in a new tube, because if past experience is anything to go by, that patch will fail to stick, and the process will require to be repeated only a day or two later.
and i hate it when that happens.
of course, in a well equipped, ventilated, lit and heated workshop with oodles of space, i might well have to reconsider my profligacy, but that's not going to happen anytime soon. however, replacing an inner tube or a gear or brake cable are two of the very basic mechanical necessities that ought to be part of the qualification process required to ride a bike in the first place. it has been said that every peloton of whatever size, will always contain amongst its number at least one mechanically adept fellow, with a tool to meet most eventualities.
in the velo club, that's usually me.
the more arcane tasks, however, such as adjusting a finnicky rear derailleur or, more recently, dealing with the intricacies of electronics (perish the thought that hydraulic discs become de riguer on road bikes) are not the tasks you'd be happy carrying out by the roadside, assuming you'd the wherewithal to manage them in the first place.
and while we're on the subject of undertaking less than simple mechanical tasks, i surely cannot be the only one who has become endlessly frustrated holding a cable in one hand, a bicycle tool in the other and failing miserably to keep the page of an instruction manual open with my elbow? surely someone at product headquarters realises that even the most adept amongst us has need of clear instruction on at least the first occasion? in which case, why not create manuals that can lie flat when open.
rouleur editor, guy andrews, has obviously experienced the very same problem, for in his new pocket road bike maintenance from bloomsbury, he has made sure it can be laid flat for clear following of his well illustrated instructions. and taking pragmatism to the ultimate, the book is perfectly formed to enable its carrying while out riding. not for nothing has the word pocket been appended to the title.
of course, i have already made mention of the fact that repairing stuff at the roadside, other than punctures or even a broken chain, should be filed under the heading 'don't do it'. that, however, may have been a slightly premature statement, bearing in mind the well worn mantra a stitch in time.... though i doubt i am in the same league as mr andrews when it comes to mechanical skills, i do have sufficient grasp of the inner workings of each of my bikes to figure out what may have gone wrong mid-ride. it is my experience that such is not commonly the case; likely the very reason this book has been published in the first place. knowing what might be going wrong and carrying out a remedy en-route could save considerable expense later.
as if the ability to lie the pages flat were not sufficient, guy andrews has an entirely personable style of passing on his knowledge, one that supports the knowledgeable yet does not patronise the newbie. there is little disincentive worse, in my opinion, than entering an all but incomprehensible world of nuts, bolts and fiddly little wires and being made to feel like an idiot. everyone, including guy andrews, has been there at sometime in the past.
as we near the period when resolutions become the order of the day, if 2014 seems like the right time, learning at least basic cycle maintenance might just be the ticket for you (so to speak). this book is quite probably the ideal way to start climbing that particular mountain.
pocket road bike maintenance by guy andrews is published on 30 january 2014 by bloomsbury publishing. there is also a corresponding pocket mountain bike maintenance published simultaneously at the same price.
monday 16 december 2013..........................................................................................................................................................................................................