the vicissitudes of the touring cyclist will eventually come home to roost, though every now and again i am impressed with the ingenuity of those who suffer the occasional adversity while riding hither and thither. many a long year ago when i worked for the self-styled number one car hire company, two americans returned a vehicle with lengths of string tied to each windscreen wiper. when i enquired as to the purpose of these accessories, they admitted that the wipers had broken while driving in skye, so they'd attached the string to each wiper, threaded it through both front door windows and taken turns at pulling in sequence to keep the windscreen clear of precipitation.
an excellent example of lateral thinking, despite the fact that their rental breakdown cover would have had them a replacement car delivered to their accommodation.
so when a gent called me yesterday morning, professing to have suffered a broken spoke, i naively stated that a replacement would not be a problem. unfortunately, the wheel turned out to feature a deeper rim than i'd expected, one that proved of a different diameter than would accept any of the spokes i had on file. meantime, the gent had got hold of a spare spoke, bent one end into a hook to fit the hub flange and screwed the other end into the spoke nipple. this rudimentary fix was actually quite clever and seemed sturdier than it had any right to be, which is just as well, because i'd to re-fit it after messing about with various other non-fitting spokes.
however, one of the necessary steps to replacing a spoke is removal of the tyre, tube and rim tape, not always a simple a procedure as you'd think. it's the fact that the tyre has probably suffered a substantial number of kilometres and weight, all conditions that serve to firmly affix the tyre to the rim and make removal harder than it ought to be. couple this with the propensity of the inner tube to stick to the tyre's inside surface, often due to a build-up of static and the struggle to insert a tyre lever under the tyre bead can often be one of the most frustrating pastimes the intrepid fettler may come across.
this is the point at which one discovers there are tyre levers and there are tyre levers. those with a simple flat edge work well when finally inserted uder the bead, but what you really want is a lever with a curved or hooked end. this style, once under the tyre, is less likely to flip out as removal commences. and if they can't be pink, then a stylish shade of blue is perfectly acceptable. any mechanic worth his or her salt knows of the importance implied by the colour of certain tools. my industrial old-style bottom bracket fixed cup removal tool was red; of course it is; what other colour would it be?
though i had eventually to apologise to the gent with the broken spoke (well, the gent with the wheel with a broken spoke) for being unable to carry out the promised repair, my efforts on his behalf were greatly eased by a pair of blue unior tyre levers. constructed of sturdy plastic, these are easily clipped together for storage and almost as versatile as the unior multi-tool reviewed only a matter of days ago. though tyre removal is scarcely unknown to me, my frequent clumsiness has resulted in more than just a single broken lever. those under consideration are of a more sturdy and rustic constitution.
as if the above were scarcely enough to contend with before popping down to the village for my weekend newspaper and a carton of orange juice (with bits), i decided additionally to swap the 33mm 'cross tyres fitted to my specialized review model (patience, patience) for a pair of challenge strada bianche 33mm road tyres. should you be wondering why, i have plans to ride this excellent bike in next sunday's ride of the falling rain and smooth tyres seem a tad more appropriate.
guess which tyre levers eased the process?
sunday 31 july 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................