Fixing the Felt and Rediscovering the Raleigh

One of my favourite films is Pixar’s Toy Story…the first all-CGI feature-length movie, and a very cool buddy story. I’m assuming knowledge of the story here so please forgive me if you’ve not seen it (and GO see it!).

I’m having a bit of a Toy Story moment. My old Raleigh bike (who I’ve taken to calling “Walter”) hasn’t been used much lately. When Fuzzy (my road bike) came along he was so superior in so many ways that Walter got a bit forgotten about. Walter is, if you like, my “Woody”, and Fuzzy is my “Buzz Lightyear”.

But this week, Fuzzy got a flat. Not on the road, he got cut up by some glass on the garden path. Still, it was a busy week and I didn’t have the time to get it fixed proper. So I took to riding the Raleigh to work for a couple of days.

And, you know what, he’s not so bad after all. He’s a work horse. Solid. Dependable. A bit rough around the edges, but he’s there when I need him. OK, so he’s a bit uncool, but he’s done more than 1500 miles in 18 months. When Fuzzy has problems, I’ll need Walter.

And so to fixing the flat. This should be bicycle maintenance 101. It’s the first thing you learn to do right? It’s EASY. A kid could do it.

So can I just say…a kid could NOT do it with a road bike! Those things are so darn fiddly, the beading’s so tight. It’s really hard!

Anyway, I fixed the flat mid-week but found a half-inch gash in the front tyre where the glass had got through so I bought two new tyres (700-25 Continental Gatorskins if you must know) and fitted them both today. That’s three tyre changes in a week – I’m getting pretty good at them now despite the difficulty level! Yet to give them a good ride but will be interesting to see how the bike handles with different rubber.

Fuzzy also got a good and much needed clean, degrease and lube today. The Raleigh is the workhorse, but the Felt is my slick, lean, fast machine and he still gets much more attention.

To infinity and beyond anyone?