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!