Broken, deflated and worn out

I’ve had some wheel problems of late and have learned a few things in the process.

Breaking…and fixing…spokes

First of all, during the house move, I decided, stupidly to transport our three bikes in horizontal formation – flat, on top of one another, in the back of the transit van.

Lesson 1: Transporting multiple bikes horizontally is not a good idea.

Why? Well mostly because I totally overloaded the weight on one of my wheels and broke four of the spokes.

Now, I’ve heard that wheel building, and spoke replacement are pretty difficult to get right and it’s easy to end up with a very wobbly wheel. But, with a bit of effort and a lot of fiddling, I managed to do this myself.

Lesson 2: Don’t be scared of people in bike shops. If you explain that you’re trying to fix something yourself they’re quite helpful.

Lesson 3: Replacing spokes isn’t as hard as everyone makes it out to be.

Lesson 4: When replacing multiple spokes do some serious preparation working out the spoke pattern. This will save you much time later on!

My first flat

Pretty chuffed with my wheel work, I started the ride to work an back again. I’ve been playing with different routes at weekend with the aim of extending my rides to make them into longer training rides.

On the first extended ride home, I must sadly report that I got my first puncture. Yes, after just over a year and about 1300 miles, I finally got my first flat!

I had a pump with me, but my multi-tool, patches and spare tube were in my seat pack…at home.

Lesson 5: It doesn’t matter if your ride is short and not straying too far from home. It’s ALWAYS worth putting your seat-pack-full-of-tools on.

I swallowed my pride and phoned home for a lift. Sally was most gracious and drove out to pick me, and my poor wheels, up.

Lesson 6: My hybrid with fully-loaded paniers is pretty heavy and carrying it any distance is hard work. When calling for roadside assistance be sure to get the person to drive to where you are, not to a point several hundred metres away up a hill!

Replacing Tyres

As I repaired the flat, I realised that my tyres were starting to look pretty worn. So they’ve been replaced now too. I still feel like the back wheel is a bit lumpy. It looks straight and true and, if anything, the bulge/wobble that I used to have in my tyre is gone. So it should be better! But it just feels not-quite-right when I do any speed in a straight line.

In addition, the, erm, well, a the bit of the bike that holds attaches the handlebar to the frame, is loose. It’s occasionally worked it way loose before but a good strong turn of an allen key has sorted it out. Sadly, this time, the hexagonal hole that you put the allen key into is wearing away and I can’t get enough force onto it to get it tight without it slipping. It might be a bike shop job now.

So in general my poor old machine is suffering a bit. I try to look after it but I guess 1300 miles is quite a lot for a cheap little Raleigh. Poor thing.