there truly is no accounting for folk, in particular, those who set off on their bicycles to ride to obscure and not so obscure parts of the world woefully underprepared. and to bring these unaccountable folk even closer to your hearts, they even join the sunday ride without even so much as a hint that they are less than prepared for adversity. i make no real distinction regarding the iniquity of either situation, for truly they are one and the same people, only the scenery has changed.
at the risk of stating the confoundingly obvious, it is harder than hard to repair or replace a punctured inner tube without a tyre lever. and piggy-backing on that tautology, even harder to inflate it without access to a pump of some description. yet i feel confident that we all know at least one cyclist who fits the above description. perhaps you even recognise yourself in this representation? over the past week i have cycled (i use the word in its loosest sense) mere metres from the croft in order to photograph items scheduled for review. yet even over such a remarkably short distance, my choice of bicycle incorporated a seat pack with tyre lever, spare tube and multi-tool, while the top tube played host to a frame-fit pump.
you can surely imagine the embarrassment that would follow should i, a famous member of the cycling media, be seen walking home because i had flatted but failed to pack any repair accoutrements. yet each year i am brought into contact with touring cyclists who either have or are intent on travelling a considerably greater distance without a pump, inner tube or tyre lever. and without a word of a fib, i have met two people this past year who were equipped with the necessary but yet had not the faintest idea of how to removed a punctured tube and replace it with the spare sat in their pannier.
it's possible that some folks are beyond saving.
i can't say i have the solution as to how i/we might educate the great unwashed as to the efficacy, nay desirability, of carrying sufficient spares to at least get them to their destination or a bike shop that might carry out a more permanent repair, but i think i might have found the very item to ease their pain. currently nearing the final days of a kickstarter campaign, townie syndicate's less than glamourously named lever + bike tool seems an obvious yet pragmatic solution to a number of ills that might befall any member of the pelotonese.
the lever + bike tool (can i just call it a cycle lightsabre please?) is the brainchild of andy olson and tom brantman, both residents of kansas city, missouri. their kickstarter campaign was instigated to raise $8,000, a total that, at the time of writing, had been comfortably exceeded. but in the spirit of wishing to give back more than they receive, andy and tom would like a few more dollars allowing them to send two levers to each of their backers. but just before you watch their video and pledge some greenbacks, allow me to enlighten you as to just what your money might buy.
the main feature, if only because of its colour, is the tyre lever, a substantial piece of kit featuring slots to accommodate the included accessories. there are 4 and 5mm allen keys/wrenches, the opposite ends of which feature a t-25 torx head and a philips screwdriver respectively. to keep all in a single package, there's a die-cut velcro wrap that slots through the centre of the tyre lever. its length allows incorporation of an inner-tube and grasping of a mini-pump before the whole enchilada is stuffed in a rear pocket or, should you fancy, strapping under the saddle rails.
the basics as described above can be had for a pledge of $15; to have the lever personalised bumps the cost to $40 and should you wish to add a custom-milled white oak lever, strap and wrenches to your original, $80 ought to cover the lot. it's a remarkably simple agglomeration of parts, but one that might just mean each and every member of the peloton is capable of taking care of their own mechanical misfortunes.
ok, so that's maybe a bit far-fetched, but we all live in hope.
saturday 9 november 2013