as if cyclists don't have enough problems. consider the ignominy of riding out each and every sunday with grubby bar tape; the embarrassment of scuff marks on the cranks; the banishable offence of having fitted your tyres with the label nowhere near the valve stem, or the major fashion faux pas of showing skin between armwarmers and jersey sleeves. and those are only the travesties i can think of, off the top of my head. no wonder it's considered the toughest sport in the world.
but all of the above pales into insignificance when faced with the conundrum of inflating your tyres with either a direct-fit pump or one of those devices with a screw-on hose. i relinquished using the former a good number of years ago after snapping off that tiny valve head in a fit of deflated exasperation. the reliability and (literally) flexibility of a screw-on hose seemed the ideal solution to the potential and actual problems realised by the direct-fit method. that was until a couple of sundays ago.
only a few metres past kilchoman distillery and for the second time that weekend, my rear tyre suffered sudden deflation while still more than a handful of kilometres from coffee. no problem, thought i; a simple matter of removing the wheel, unhitching one side of the tyre and replacing the defunct inner-tube. and that was precisely how subsequent events played out, until it came time to inflate the new tube.
after screwing on the hose, i attached it to the pump and proceeded with my finest scwarnold arzenegger impression to speed matters along just nicely. having achieved a pressure that i was confident would get me to debbie's (we keep have a track pump there for just such situations), i unscrewed the hose, only for the replaceable valve core to remove itself simultaneously. explosive decompression.
though i now realise it is possible to purchase spare valve cores, i cannot recall a situation in which that has been the cause of my puncture. and before anyone says, the two occasions on which i snapped off the ends of the valves were on those without replaceable cores. to be honest, the cost of even a quality inner tube these days is less than onerous; i still find it simpler to replace an inner tube than attempt to repair it.
i agree that the simple solution would be to only purchase inner tubes featuring single-piece valves, but in the current case, i had only just placed an order for a whole skoosh of new tubes the day before what we now refer to as the 'kilchoman distillery incident'. and they (continental) are all fitted with replaceable valve cores.
perhaps it was time to revisit the direct-fit pump; surely things had moved on since i managed to break stuff? this new inflationary horizon took the shape of an axiom blastair hvl alloy mini-pump on which the initials hvl, i am assuming are an abbreviation for high volume.
the current bike type with which i find myself besotted, is that of the cyclocross genre. i've been riding 33mm tyres since the end of november last year and have every intention of continuing the trend into the foreseeable future. as a part of the review procedure and also to rid myself of puncture potential, i removed an apparently offending duo of rubber and replaced it with that of far higher quality, bringing front and rear tyres up to pressure by means of the axiom blastair.
if i had been paying attention to the process, i'd have counted the number of strokes required to inflate both to around 40psi. but i didn't. however, despite the axiom being a small (a mere 25cm) pump, its inflationary abilities were most impressive.
the concealed chuck is reversible for use on both presta and schrader valves, while a recessed pink anodised lever can be flipped up to lock the pump onto the valve. when the inflation process is complete, the handle can be parked on a rubber gasket attached to the outer shaft. it cannot be denied that the pump's length leaves about a third showing when stuffed in a jersey rear pocket, but that's hardly a situation worth crying over.
for such a ultilitarian device (i would find it hard to work up feverish enthusiasm for a carbon fibre pump) the axiom has a rather pleasing black/silver art-deco look about it. surely the very item charles rennie mackintosh would have claimed for his own bicycle. the blastair arrives with an appropriate bracket to allow fitting of the pump alongside a downtube located bottle cage, should you prefer not to sully a rear pocket. it's rated to 120psi, something i've yet to attempt, but considering the ease with which it inflated a 'cross tube to 40psi, i wouldn't bet against managing 80psi more in a 25c road tube.
and all this for a mere £30.
axiom products are distributed in the uk by paligap and available via your local dealer.
saturda2 11 march 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................