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  1. #1
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    News: Good and Bad

    First of all, let me explain that recent aptitude tests place me roughly equivalent to the banana slug, in terms of mechanical ability. Not because of a lack of desire; far from it. Let's just say that the last time I attempted to repair something in the kitchen sink, the plumber who eventually arrived let it be known that I had doubled the cost of repair with my meager attempts.

    And, there was that time that I bought a radial arm saw, and tried to feed a board into it the wrong way, only to have the CAST IRON guard snap in two, with one piece whizzing past my head and missing me by perhaps an inch.

    So, you can understand when I returned to biking I had a natural trepidation of things going wrong, and me being stranded 15 miles from civilization, with no clue how to fix it.

    Today, I went to move my bike from it's informal post next to the front door to a more comfortable, traffic-pattern-wise, position in an adjacent room when I got the news.

    First the bad news: My front tire, a fat, knobby, just under 400 miles-on-it tire, is flat. A cursory examination revealed a burr embedded between two knobs.

    The good news: The tire went flat AT HOME! Woohoo! I can get that book from Barnes & Noble that SWEARS it makes bicycle repair easy, and take my time, and repair the flat. I had the foresight to purchase a spare tube, plus I have a patch kit, and there's plenty of iced tea in the fridge. My schedule won't permit me tackling this until Thursday, however.

    Thursday afternoon, I'll probably be putting the bike on the rack and driving to my LBS, so they can repair the damage I do to the tire, trying to repair the damage the burr did in the first place.

    It's nice to know one's schedule ahead of time.
    Visit my blog! The Leadership Almanac
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  2. #2
    Senior Member KeithA's Avatar
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    Given our similar mechanical aptitude, I'm thinking that genetically we must be related.

  3. #3
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    DG,
    Sorry to hear of the tire. One of those things that happen!
    Tires are not a big deal as long as you catch them early as you have.
    If you can't repair it by all means take it to one who can.
    I don't expect a wimp effort here. On Sept 3 I want to see you adding to the ride your age thread,
    Best regards,
    Dan

  4. #4
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    Digital Gee....you being the author of my favorite quote here (Cycling is 50% physical, 90% mental), I know you'll overcome this--or just ride around on the rims. Of my many tire misadventures, I recall changing a tube (in my garage) but not checking to see if it was seated. As I pumped merrily and breathlessly away, a large hernia like balloon began to secretlysquirt out between tire and rim. I looked down and saw it just as it exploded loudly, my young son began to cry, and the wife came running out fearing the worst.

    D.G.....take it to the shop!

  5. #5
    Member buddha631's Avatar
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    Glad to see there are others out there with my level of mechanical ability - which is basically below zero. Even if I did try to fix my bike, I have no confidence I did it correctly. So, why waste my time -- it goes back to the LBS for repairs.

  6. #6
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Not only can't I do much mechanical work, I hate doing whatever I do. Yes, I can change a tire and replace a tube in an emergency. But I hate it.

    There are always those who write in forums that if you only had $3,000 worth of Park Tools, and took this course and that and read this book and that, you could learn.

    To me, that is like telling me if I read books and practised and got the right shoes I could run a 4 minute mile. Just isn't going to happen.

    That is why God made LBS's - who do have $3,000 worth of Park Tools!

    I'm with you DG. But, be sure to find the cause of that leak and remove it, or you will get to change that tube again. Been there, did that!

    (PS, Hey, I did manage to assemble a bicycle out of a box correctly )
    Gone - email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for new group of old 50+ folks

  7. #7
    Riding a bitsa
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    Oh, I think it's what you wish out of the experience. For me, working on my motorcycles and (now) bicycles is part of the entire experience. I'd not enjoy the riding if not for the fixing, tuning, etc.

    If you had that ethic, then fixing would be pleasurable and you'd be good at it. OTOH, I HATE HATE HATE working on my house. Not so oddly enough, I"m no good at it. The mechanical aptitude is the same, but the desire is different.

  8. #8
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slide
    Oh, I think it's what you wish out of the experience. For me, working on my motorcycles and (now) bicycles is part of the entire experience. I'd not enjoy the riding if not for the fixing, tuning, etc.

    If you had that ethic, then fixing would be pleasurable and you'd be good at it. OTOH, I HATE HATE HATE working on my house. Not so oddly enough, I"m no good at it. The mechanical aptitude is the same, but the desire is different.
    I also hate working on my house, and am also no good at it!

    There is such a thing as mechanical aptitude, and you can even have valid tests for it.

    Those folks with good mechanical aptitude are the ones who enjoy doing mechanical things. Makes sense to me!
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 08-17-05 at 07:17 AM.
    Gone - email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for new group of old 50+ folks

  9. #9
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Agree with Dfox, some people have a knack for mechanics and do it well.

    Digital Dee, don't forget to pick up some tire levers, plastic spoonish things to get the tire off. Take your time. I hated the first time I had to change a tire. Second wasn't so bad. Still don't like it, but now can do it. Can you say Mike's Lemonade?
    Hi 'o Silver away

  10. #10
    "Old & Slow Rider" BJ Ondo's Avatar
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    LOL, well I learned the hard way, when I first got my bicycle, I had a flat everyday for 4 days in a row!! After changing out the tube, then patching the tube, I went down and bought a product called "SLIME"! I've got close to 700 miles on the bicycle and had "no flats"!! I don't care if it add's weight, as long as I don't have to 'repair on the roadside", it's worth the little bit of slime that sometime spits out, when I air up the tires! I'm with most in this group, I'd rather "Ride than Wrench" anyday but I am working on adding to my meger bicycle tool collection, at least if I mess up, I can proudly say I messed it up with the "right tool", LOL!
    BJ & Jo Ondo
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  11. #11
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
    Agree with Dfox, some people have a knack for mechanics and do it well.

    Digital Dee, don't forget to pick up some tire levers, plastic spoonish things to get the tire off. Take your time. I hated the first time I had to change a tire. Second wasn't so bad. Still don't like it, but now can do it. Can you say Mike's Lemonade?
    Well, now I can replace tires (even 700's x 25) WITHOUT tire levers, using my hands and a bit of finesse. Maybe there IS hope!


    I went down and bought a product called "SLIME"! I've got close to 700 miles on the bicycle and had "no flats"!!
    Slime will work with a low pressure 26" tire, but don't expect it to work well on a 120 psi tire. It also REALLY screws up Presta valves.
    Gone - email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for new group of old 50+ folks

  12. #12
    "Old & Slow Rider" BJ Ondo's Avatar
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    The Fox states: "Slime will work with a low pressure 26" tire, but don't expect it to work well on a 120 psi tire. It also REALLY screws up Presta valves".

    BJ says: Your right, even low pressure tires with "presta valves" can get stuck closed when using "Slime"!! LOL, I doubt I'll ever be able to afford a bicycle with presta valves so I should be safe! My snake belly treaded OEM tires have a max. of 65psi. been looking at having a differnt set of wheels built up to handle the 90-100 psi. 26x1.5 almost slick tires, strictly for "road rides". Hope they don't have presta valves or I'll have to figure a "Plan B"! :O
    BJ & Jo Ondo
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  13. #13
    Senior Member KeithA's Avatar
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    DnvrFox,

    Have any hints on how to get the tire back on without levers? I hear there are some techniques that help or is it pretty much all muscle power?

  14. #14
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    LOL, I doubt I'll ever be able to afford a bicycle with presta valves so I should be safe!
    You will live to rue those words!

    Watch on this forum the inexorable progression:

    1. Old bike

    2. Hybrid/comfort

    then:
    3. Road bike (presta tires)

    You can't stop it, man! It is nature's law.
    Gone - email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for new group of old 50+ folks

  15. #15
    fmw
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    Hoosier Pedaler fmw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    You will live to rue those words!

    Watch on this forum the inexorable progression:

    1. Old bike

    2. Hybrid/comfort

    then:
    3. Road bike (presta tires)

    You can't stop it, man! It is nature's law.
    You forgot to include step 4. - build your own buggy. Mine's coming along pretty nicely.


  16. #16
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Many moons ago, I did my first long ride- The London to Brighton ride. I was in a group of 24 and we arranged a truck for the bikes and a coach for the riders. Got to London, unloaded the bikes and one had a flat tyre. No problem- the owner had several Spare tubes as one of his curses was punctures- he kept on getting them. Changed the tube, pumped it up, all Ok rode to the start and he had another puncture. Ok another tube, but this went down straight away. another tube and it was AT THIS POINT WE NOTICED HE HAD ABOUT 10 MORE TUBES IN HIS RUCKSACK. My mate puled out one of the tubes and put his finger through it "Where did you get these tubes from?" he was asked. Apparantly he went to a market and saw these tubes at a very cheap price, so he bought 50 of them. Every single one was already punctured, or rotten. Someone gave him a NEW tube out of his stock and we could finally start the ride.
    Only one person failed on that ride, and that was the one with the rotten tubes. We had changed his rear tube, But he had 7 more punctures on his front wheel before he ran out of tubes (He had fitted one of the rotten tubes to the front aswell)

  17. #17
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KeithA
    DnvrFox,

    Have any hints on how to get the tire back on without levers? I hear there are some techniques that help or is it pretty much all muscle power?
    No, not muscle power.

    It primarily involves getting the edge of one side of the tire to be mounted down in the deeper space ain the middle of the wheel rim, allowing more "space" for the rest of the tire, and a technique of "rolling" the other side of the tire by either pushing with the heel of your palm, or pulling towards you while the wheel is facing away from you with you fingers, all the time being sure that the other side of the tire is away from the edge of the rim. Others have other techniques, I am sure.

    I am proud I mounted my Specialized Armadillos (a very tough tire) without any levers a few weeks ago - the first time I have done so!
    Gone - email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for new group of old 50+ folks

  18. #18
    Senior Member KeithA's Avatar
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    Thanks, I'm going to give it a go...hopefully not for a long time as the occasion would be a flat.

  19. #19
    Riding a bitsa
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    Slime will work with a low pressure 26" tire, but don't expect it to work well on a 120 psi tire. It also REALLY screws up Presta valves.
    My LBS has Slime brand tubes which have pre-installed slime. That means you don't need to go past your presta on the way to the inside. Performance has these too. They exact a small penalty in mass, but not nearly as much as heavy tubes. My LBS sold me mine for $7.88 or less than Performance ,but I think that was a sale. So far no flats.

  20. #20
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slide
    My LBS has Slime brand tubes which have pre-installed slime. That means you don't need to go past your presta on the way to the inside. Performance has these too. They exact a small penalty in mass, but not nearly as much as heavy tubes. My LBS sold me mine for $7.88 or less than Performance ,but I think that was a sale. So far no flats.
    Yes, I tried these.

    I found that if I ever forgot that slime was in the tube, and attempted inflation with the valve near the bottom of the wheel (near the ground), the slime would foul up the valve as you were filling it by running into the valve inside body.

    If I always inflated with the valve near the top of the wheel, then things were ok as far as the valve.

    I still doubt that slime could withstand the pressure for long of a tire filled to 120 psi, though.

    I hope you have better luck than I did.
    Gone - email me at dnvrfox@aol.com for new group of old 50+ folks

  21. #21
    Riding a bitsa
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    I think it a good idea that we have a forum here where we can report our experiences using certain equipment. For example, these tubes will either work or not in a high pressure 23 mm tire. At this point I don't know, but part of my success is coincident. I always inflate with the valve between 10 and 2 o'clock as habit.

    I think it'd be useful if they do work, that I can post so others can then add that to their knowledgebase. Ditto if they fail. Is there an Equipment or Tried It forum? I didn't see a likely candidate.

  22. #22
    Burnt Orange Blood Longhorn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slide
    I think it a good idea that we have a forum here where we can report our experiences using certain equipment. For example, these tubes will either work or not in a high pressure 23 mm tire. At this point I don't know, but part of my success is coincident. I always inflate with the valve between 10 and 2 o'clock as habit.

    I think it'd be useful if they do work, that I can post so others can then add that to their knowledgebase. Ditto if they fail. Is there an Equipment or Tried It forum? I didn't see a likely candidate.
    That's an excellent idea. I used to check out the mechanics forum but that talk was WAY over my head. I don't know -- maybe I've learned enough now that I could follow it.

    Digital Gee: Your admission to the lack of mechanical aptitude was actually inspiring! It got me to thinking about how I tend to assume I can't do simple things to my bike that only involve a screw driver or an allen wrench. So yesterday when I needed to change out my saddle, instead of waiting for my husband to come home and do it for me, I just marched out and did it! I rode it ten miles last night and it didn't fall off.
    Last edited by Longhorn; 08-18-05 at 12:30 PM.

  23. #23
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Well, last night I bought a book on bicycle maintenance with LOTS of pictures, came home, fired up a rerun of Law and Order, and set about to fix my flat.

    It was easier to get the tire and tube off the bike than I had thought. It was pretty simple to find the leak in the tube (in the kitchen sink full of water). It wasn't hard to put a patch over the hole. It wasn't even that hard to remount the tube and tire, and inflate it with my floor pump.

    It was, however, discouraging to glance at the bike twenty mintues later, and see that the tire is flat once again. By that point I was too irritated to repeat the process and see what happened. I'm going to do that this morning.

    Perhaps the burr I thought had caused the flat (I found that immediately still sticking into the tire) wasn't completely removed. Perhaps i hadn't cleaned the inside of the tire enough. Whatever the reason, my feeling of accomplishment was short lived.

    If I can't figure out what happened this morning, the bike will go to the LBS this afternoon.

    Color my grumpy.
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  24. #24
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    Okay, I took the tube off once again, and found it was still leaking from under the patch. If you're interested, I was using Wrench Force Fast Patch preglued inner tube patches. Anyway, I figured i could put another patch over the old one, overlapping it somewhat, to stop the leak.

    Did that.

    Still leaked.

    Did it again (now three patches).

    Still leaked.

    Did it again and again and again (Now using all six patches in the kit, making a lovely floral pattern on the tube).

    Still leaked.

    Okay, change tactics (remember, I've got the mechanical aptitude of a banana slug). I'm very used to this kind of frustration -- it happens every time i try to fix something.

    The LBS had furnished me with a free spare tube when i bought the bike, so i figured it was time to put that on and forget this patch business.

    Inflated it slightly and began fitting it to the wheel. Didn't fit. Seemed too big. WTF???

    Here's what I had on originally: 26x1.90/2.125. I look at the new tube: 26x1.75/2.35.

    I'm not all sure what all those numbers mean, but I'm smart enough to know they don't match. Is this tube bigger? (Seems like 1.75 should be smaller than 1.90, but 2.35 is larger than 2.125.)

    The whole mess goes to the LBS this afternoon. Geesh.

    Any words of encouragement would be appreciated. Snickers and snorts you can keep to yourself! lol
    Visit my blog! The Leadership Almanac
    2012 Masi Evoluzione
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  25. #25
    Burnt Orange Blood Longhorn's Avatar
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    Just look at how much practice you got!

    From what I've learned here, those numbers are the range of widths that the tube will accommodate. If your tire width is somewhere between 1.90 and 2.125, then it should certainly be between 1.75 and 2.35! (I teach math; can't you tell? ) So it would seem that the tube should fit.

    I would have given up on the patch LONG before three patches! You're more patient than you think.

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