Sunday, December 09, 2007

Slime, 20-inch wheels, oil, filters, old Volvos and very sore fingers

I have, from the age of 12, removed and replaced hundreds of bicycle tyres in the course of The Perpetual Battle against Punctures. NEVER, have I suffered such finger-licking pain and frustration as I did last night, as I fitted new (Slime Smartubes) puncture-proof inner tubes (and Slime tyre liners; I WILL NOT puncture on the Forth and Clyde Canal towpath and fall off EVER AGAIN) to the 20-inch wheels on my new (nearly the same as the old one, which I gave to a family member) Downtube VIIIFS folding bike.
The Chinese Kenda tyres seemed to have beaded edges made of titanium. I broke two tyre levers, bent three spoons, couldn't get the tyres off, then did, then couldn't get them back on the rims. I was weeping with rage. In the end a Swiss Army Knife (don't ask) saved the day.
The Downtube (see previous posts for pictures and details of the orange one) now has new MKS alloy pedals and only needs a proper Brooks leather saddle to be the serious 'transitional tourer' I intend it to be. Next year, Santiago de Compostela! And the bus back. Or maybe I should get a donkey...
Today, I found myself struggling mightily with more old technology, namely, the 1992 Volvo Torslanda estate I bought recently for £390. Oil and filter change in freezing conditions. Draining the oil was easy (why do I have three incomplete socket sets? Where did they come from? Why does ONLY ONE socket ever fit the nut in question?)but getting the old filter off was hellish. ALWAYS, with cartridge filters, DESPITE having the right removal tool, it comes down to punching a screwdriver through the casing, getting covered in old oil, and skinning your knuckles on the engine as you scrabble to twirl the sucker off.

As you may have guessed, I love all this stuff...

1 comment:

Catherine Nelson-Pollard said...

Hmm,them trusty Swiss army knives eh?

Catherine (from Switzerland)