Just a Five Minute Job…

I've had a couple of visits from the p*nct*re fairy recently. Looking back over my records I was surprised to discover I've actually done over 5000 miles on these same tyres – no wonder I've started to get punctures! I've been trying to make them last as long as possible as they've been discontinued (Michelin Krylion 700×25) but Chain Reaction were promising to have stock in in September. My first puncture was on a club run so I just fixed it as fast as possible. The second one was a front wheel puncture and I spent some time checking the state of the tyre. News was not good, if the front is in that state the back must be a right mess. New tyres were needed urgently, waiting until September would not be wise! Continental Gatorskins were duly ordered and arrived on Thursday. 'Will this take long?' asked Dennis as I moved my bike into the kitchen where I do all my bike maintenance. 'No, no, its just a five minute job' I assured him.

I have to admit five minutes is a bit optimistic but changing a couple of tyres shouldn't take more than half an hour at the most. I like to keep my bike clean. I haven't quite attained Mick's level of perfection but most people would describe my bike as immaculate. The kitchen is another matter altogether! Having removed the front wheel and tyre I just had to clean the wheel and the forks for any little specks I may have previously missed. It then occurred to me that it would be much easier to remove and clean the rear wheel if I took the chain off. The chain checker wasn't showing any signs of wear but it had been on for 3000 miles so I decided to replace it anyway (if I change it before its worn I can get away with not changing the cassette). A good squirt of foaming degreaser on the cassette, a little scrub with a tooth brush and the cassette is sparkling.



Of course then there's the chain rings to scrub and clean and all those awkward little bits to get in. I resist the temptation to remove the chainring bolts for a really thorough job, I seem to recall that they're not too easy to get back in. I'm not terribly mechanical, which could be a good thing – otherwise I might be tempted to strip down the hubs while I'm at it! (I save jobs like that for my annual trip to Roberts). Then there's the derailleurs to clean.
'Are you nearly done in there?' comes a plaintive voice. 'I'm hungry!'
'Yes, nearly' I lie.



So now I just need to fit a new tyre on the rear wheel. Wasn't that what I set out to do in the first place? Ah yes, so it was. I fit the wheel back on the bike. Now I just need a new chain. No problem, I always buy them in threes from anyone who is selling them at a good price. Remove the correct number of links, degrease, fit and rejoin and then of course it needs some lube. Somehow two hours have passed. How time flies when you're having fun!

I've just finished reading Rob Penn's book 'Its all about the Bike'. He says 'You make a covenant with a bike like this – to ride it, and to look after it for as long as it bears you away to a refuge far from the present'. I couldn't agree more!


8 comments on “Just a Five Minute Job…”

  1. Patrick wrote:

    Mrs Taylor has never touched either of her bikes except to ride them. I don't think she knows how to pump up the tyres. When I say it needs a clean or a new chain she just says: "leave it, it's fine." I do it anyway. (I can write what I like because she never reads this blog either!)

    I moved my bike into the kitchen where I do all my bike maintenance.


    I don't think I'd get away with that here, not even for five minutes. I go on the lawn and put the bike(s) in a repair stand to fiddle with the bits. That works quite well. It's much easier to adjust the gears when the wheels are off the ground and to access the bike generally.

    The pink toothpaste seems effective. I might try some. It probably won't find its way into bearings like liquid degreaser does. I think it's worth swapping the tyres over front to back when the front gets a bit worn. You'll get more life from them that way. 5000 miles is pretty amazing though.

    It took me nearly two days to clean my touring bike properly after last winter. The aluminium framed hybrid I got recently will help preserve the tourer and I'm looking forward to coming back from winter rides covered in muck and not being precious about this – a quick hose down for the bike then straight in the garage with it! The steel framed tourers live in the house (but not in the kitchen). Incidentally, we do have a Post with a picture of a bike being maintained in Mary's kitchen.

  2. Kern wrote:

    A recent review in The Economist of "It's All About the Bike" calls it a gem. I gather, Hilary, that you enjoyed it? This may be one of those useful nuggets to squirrel away for Christmas.

  3. Chris wrote:

    This is the closest I am allowed to having bikes in the kitchen. The three on the left were temporarily brought in from the cold when we had our break last week.


    I fancied a bike stand, but when I bought this cycle wall rack (supposedly to store two bikes, but it's a bit of a squeeze) I decided that it would have to do as something to hold the bike while I work on it.


    I'm not sure if I could lift the Ridgeback up there, though.

    I like your upturned bucket method, Hilary 😀 When I did bike maintenance on the patio I slotted a broom handle underneath the top tube at its intersection with the seat post and balanced the broom handle on a couple of garden chairs positioned at either side. Very high tech.

  4. Hilary wrote:

    I think the key point about being allowed to do bike maintenance in the kitchen is who cleans the kitchen! If I clean the floor then put tyre marks on it I've only myself to blame, if someone else was responsible I wouldn't be too happy. I'm guessing Mary is also responsible for kitchen cleaning. 🙂 I do have the same workstand as Mary and Patrick (also a Xmas present) but can seldom be bothered to set it up. I have an axle stand that works great for most things and if I need to take the rear wheel off there's always the trusty orange bucket!

    I had been meaning to swap front and rear tyres for some time but somehow never got round to it. Strangely I got another front wheel p*nct*re on Saturday about 50m from where I got one last Saturday! A small sharp piece of flint was again responsible. I think I'll avoid that road after rain in future.

    I enjoyed Rob Penn's book very much, its a fine hymn of praise to the bicycle. I was going to save it for my Xmas list but that one click ordering on Amazon is just too easy!

  5. Garry wrote:

    I do almost all my own maintenance. I recently got a seal replaced in a hydraulic brake lever and I cannot remember when I last got something done by a bike shop.
    I've occasionally been allowed into the kitchen. Mostly it's in the garage, which is packed with bicycles, at the moment 3 of mine, one of Mary's and 2 of Lizzie's. I've another in the attic. So I do most of my maintenance on my patio.
    My bikes could seldom be accused of being clean! I clean them before I go abroad, or if I'm really bored. I DO clean the chain, but it rains so often here (apart from this summer which has been brilliant) that cleaning them is a waste of time.
    But... a lady who does her own maintenance. Mary says things like... "The brake I pull with my left hand is soft". She can pump a tyre and can with difficulty change a tube if she punctures, but she often just rings me if she's out on her own, as it's such a bother. Well, not often, but often as far as getting punctures goes.

  6. Patrick wrote:

    I was cycling with Mrs Taylor the other day, and amidst some bangs and cracks coming from her bike she said: "It won't go on the big cog," meaning the chain onto the big chainring.

    "How long has it been like that?" I asked.

    "Quite a while."

    "Was it like that in Denmark?"

    "Yes, I think so."

    Denmark was last May!

    Hen in kitchen

    Hen trespassing in our kitchen today

  7. Hilary wrote:

    Bikes have more right to the kitchen than hens! 😀

  8. Patrick wrote:

    I'm not sure about that Hilary. As it's a member of the food production team, perhaps the hen should be allowed to inspect the premises once in a while, check the hygiene etc.

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