tyres and wheels occasionally have a falling out with each other, frequently invoking the law of sod by doing so with the most unfortunate and irritating sense of timing. a bit like practitioners of the highland bagpipe, now that you come to mention it. if sod is really in a bad mood, these disagreements will take place just as you're about to stake everything on the lunchtime sprint at the entry to bruichladdich village, but i think the stationary version is often hard to beat in the irritation stakes.
just such a happenstance reared its ugly head (and just while you're here, is it really possible that a happenstance is able to distance itself from pulchritudinity?) last week during one of those designated bike fettling mornings.
i was in the process of fitting a set of particularly wide road tyres to a new set of wheels and though the wheels were as close to round as it is possible to achieve, the front tyre stubbornly refused to seat properly on the rim. i tried all the tricks of my trade, flipping the tyre round the other way, replacing it with that fitted to the rear wheel, liberally sprinkling the tyre bead with washing up liquid and even inflating, then reinflating the tyre more often than is seemly in polite company. all to no avail; the tyre still refused to seat on the rim without displaying a disappointing flat spot.
in addition to all the foregoing, i also attempted that which i'm sure many of you have been shouting from the sidelines since i started this monologue. i replaced the inner tube. it's rare amongst the more well-known inner tube brands to come across an example that does not inflate uniformly, but the law of averages dictates that it's bound to happen at some time in a bicycle's life. this could conceivably have been one of those times. the fact that this made no appreciable difference whatsoever was something of a double-edged sword; brilliant to learn that the standard of tube manufacture remains impeccable, but disappointing that this option failed to solve my problem.
however, the inquities of tyre mounting are somewhat less than germain to this diatribe, more about the eventual resting place of the cast-aside inner tube. in this particular case, i had already chucked the empty box in the recycle bin; it therefore became incumbent upon me to store the tube in a manner that would distinguish it from all the other lazily discarded tubes just inside the door of the bike shed. assuming i can still read the sizing stamp next time i find myself in need of a cyclocross-sized inner tube, all will be well with the world, but otherwise i am in sore danger of being wantonly wasteful.
the same could be said for the odd, discarded road tyre wrapped all but inextricably around no longer roadworthy wheels. there may well have been perfectly good reason for those tyres no longer serving their intended purpose, but you'd scarcely think a few nicks in the tread would render them completely useless. it's a situation that laura zabo is probably more acquainted with than am i, though she admittedly is more used to fashioning many of her upcycled tyre and tube based jewellery and utilities on new but remaindered stock.
i thought it a tad inappropriate to offer a review of her admittedly rather fetching shredded inner tube jewellery, a range that includes necklaces, bracelets and earrings, so i opted for the more pragmatic tyre-based belts. one of these features a notionally aggressive looking tread which i think might be most appropriate for rugged outdoor trips, while the red lined schwalbe version, with its smooth roadgoing tread looks the faster of the two and could thus prove handy if i'm late for work in the morning.
and to introduce yet another double-edged sword, there's a level of faff involved with fitting one of these belts to whichever pair of trousers has become the nether garment du jour. just like the grip displayed by schwalbe's tyres when gripping the road, they feature a similar amount of tenacity when threading through the belt loops. however such a velcro-like grasp on waisted matters pretty much guarantees the belt isn't going to move, no matter any disco-based gyrations that might be on the menu.
however, i would think the most likely benefit from wearing one or t'other (or, arguably, one of the jewellery types mentioned above) is akin to those track mitts with the oval gap on the back. the one that provides a similarly shaped tan on the back of each hand when the sun comes out. it is, as previously discussed, the cyclist's equivalent of a secret handshake. though you might have to wonder why a potential acquaintance's glance would be directed towards your waistline, espying one of these utterly superb belts would immediately identify you as one of the cognoscenti.
for who amongst the civilian population will have the faintest idea of what a schwalbe is likely to be?
laura zabo's upcycled tyre belts start at around £37 and are made from brand new tyres or tubes that failed schwalbe's stringent quality control process. there is no danger of receiving one with scraped sidewalls or intransigent little flints trapped in the centre portion of tread. the substantial range of products can be viewed on her online store linked below.
friday 31 march 2017..........................................................................................................................................................................................................