Friday November 21st 2020 – One here for Bob’s big book of bizarre mechanical failures – specifically the ‘This is not my circus, and those are most definitely not my monkeys’ chapter.
This is not my bike. I was asked by an old family friend to change their tyres, as they didn’t feel comfortable to do so themselves. ‘No problem!’ I assured them as they wheeled the bike into the garage.
First step, remove rear wheel and let air out of the old tyre. Simple enough. Since the tubes would be too big for the new tyres, I removed the valve for a full deflation – and the telltale green ooze of tyre sealant – slime brand – bubbled out.
This would be no problem, usually, except the local bike shop who originally fitted these tyres made a mistake.
What I found was only half of the tyre went down – the other half opposite the valve state inflated. That I was astounded and somewhat bemused is an understatement.
Never, ever had seen that before, and it took me a few minutes to work out – with the help of a mate by text – to diagnose that the tube had been twisted when fitted, under inflation the pressure had compressed the two twists, and the sealant blocked them creating an effective seal.
Great. But how do you release the trapped air?
I didn’t want to try puncturing it. Friend suggested a sharp tap with a blunt, soft object on the inflated section, or bouncing it off the floor. I grabbed an offcut of 2×2 and rapped the tire sharply.
There was a loud bang, and a volcanic ejaculation of green sealant.
Everywhere.It went everywhere. It’s just possible there’s an object in the workshop that doesn’t have green slime on it somewhere, but as yet I’ve not found one. A total mess. I was dripping.
The areas where the tube had twisted had clearly worn tissue-thin against the tyre, and the tap with the wood was the straw that broke it’s back.There was no patching THAT tube.
I have never seen this before, and probably never will do again, but it was a messy, if perplexing adventure.
That was a blowout on the road waiting to happen, and the bike shop deserve a slap.
Fixing other people’s bikes is never as simple as you think…
Thursday, October 1st 2020 – I had business to do in Bolton so took the bike up on the train. In these bizarre, pandemic days trains are strange: Even early on a weekday morning the inter-city services and suburban commuter trains are next to empty, populated by wary, slightly suspicious, bemasked travellers. Rail ravel is really not a pleasant experience right now.
Bolton is one of the areas apparently in greater lockdown, but it seemed as relaxed and unperturbed by the outside world as usual.
I was amused and puzzled by this restaurant on the Wigan Road: How on earth did that come to happen? Top marks for the name ‘Steaks on a plane’ though.
Coming home, I got off at Stafford and rode home for the exercise, chance to enjoy the sun before oncoming rains next day and maybe a treat at Milford’s Wimpy. On the side of a boarded up pub in Stafford, the intellectual giants of the local conspiracy theory scene say more about their capacity for reason and mental acuity than any outsider ever could. Meanwhile, over at the frankly insane website mentioned, you can buy a promotional mask bearing the website URL…
May 12th – While visiting the shops in Stonnall, I spotted this smilestone in one of the planters outside.
Smilestones are a real phenomena – like the previously mentioned chalked games on local paths, they provide a safe, fun activity for kids and families, who decorate randomly selected stones and leave them for others to find.
This brightly coloured one made me smile, and did it’s job. They’re wonderful to find as one wanders about daily life.
March 24th – As I get older and wiser I realise that mallard ducks are just loud, shouty idiots with very unpalatable mating habits.
Here on the canal at Walsall Wood on my way to work, two males were competitively battling each other to mate with a female.
They were fighting for some time and the noise and disruption was considerable. Interesting that a coot seemed to be refereeing.
We are now under some kind of lockdown – I can only got to work if I can’t from home, or if I am a ‘key worker’; I can have some exercise every day and got to the shops. Most everything else is restricted or banned.
March 14th – One of the nice but pointlessly geeky things about riding with a GPS bike computer is the ability to see sunrise and sunset times change every day.
That’s not so great when nights are closing in, but when they’re opening out, it’s lovely to watch; and one of the things that always makes me happy is the spring equinox.
The science of the equinox/equilux is basically beyond me but the equinox is when the length of day is equal to the length of night, and the difference between sunset and sunrise is 12 hours. I always find it intriguing that thins’t smack bang at 6pm and 6pm, which would be neat, but usually around 6:15.
Every year this gets me, and every year I’m as delighted and inspired by it.