Planned maintenance for bicycles
I can't seem to shake off the habits of my previous career as an architect and property manager, so I do planned maintenance on our bikes. Another term we used at work was preventive maintenance, or even preventative (as some would say). You inspect and replace components according to a planned cycle instead of waiting until you notice expensive damage or suffer major inconvenience. It probably costs more in the case of a bicycle but it means your machines should be ship-shape coming up to a planned cycle tour.
It was Mrs Taylor's touring bike's turn for attention a few days ago – up for new tyres it didn't really need, but for once, the wasted expense proved worthwhile.
Preparing to remove the front tyre, I unscrewed the valve plunger (or whatever it's called) and pressed it in to release the air. Nothing came out. No hiss. The air came out eventually by squeezing the tyre and waiting. The tube was constricted like a double-kinked hosepipe. It can only be a machine that made this wheel.
Anyway, I feel vindicated in my methods. Whether the scrunched up inner tube made the tyre more vulnerable to a puncture, I don't know, but Sandra doesn't hold back going down hills and this it how the tyre has been since new almost two years ago. A front wheel blow-out is the very last thing you want when riding a fully-loaded touring bicycle fast down hill.
As well as replacing the tyres and tubes, I replaced the Hollowtech II bottom bracket with an upgrade to Deore XT and fitted a new cassette and chain. The cassette is plain Deore as I've read unfavourable reports about the XT freehub, and the chain is Shimano HG53 like the original. I've replaced the XT freehub on my own bike with a new one just in case.
I now tend to replace bike parts myself but for many years I used my local bike shop and they usually told me: "You know... it didn't really need a new one." That might well be true, but all the same I can't help sticking to a life-long philosophy of fix it even if it ain't broke and my wife's kinked inner tube has done nothing to alter my ways.
Incidentally, when cycling we drink Vimto out of 'tasteless' Camelbak bottles in which you can leave your drink for a few days without it tasting plasticky. The money saved by less drink wastage can be put towards needless bike repairs.