Monday, December 14, 2015

Punctures again.

Brilliant - Blogger changes its method of authentication and Live Writer is going open source - Microsoft can't be *ssed presumably. They stop working - open source comes to the rescue - but OLW doesn't work either. I find myself unable to post the newly written post.

The moral is - you can't really depend upon stuff continuing to work on the Internet - time passes and stuff gets dumped.

Is there a Wiki version of Blogspot - I can see I am going to have to look around for alternatives.

How do others create their posts -for Blogger?

Perhaps Wordpress would be an alternative - any feedback.

The post I wrote and had to bodge across is below. Arghhh - How to get the text sizing to work... Sorry.  I had to scrub all text formatting and add it again - hence the change of style. Sorry again.

Punctures - again

I hate punctures, I happily go for slower tyres if it means fewer punctures. My son rang me the other week and asked if he could pop over to help him fit some tyres. His girlfriend’s bike was in need of replacement tyres and he had gotten some Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres on my recommendation. However when he came to fit them he found it impossible.

He turned up on Saturday morning with two tyres, as it happens I had also got a puncture to fix – the front tyre on my road bike had split – much like the rear tyre, they were both Schwalbe Durano Plus tyres, nice tyres – but – once split very prone to going puncturing again. I have also fitted them with Slime inner tubes and so far it was something like 4.5 to Slime and 0.5 to punctures. It is a bit odd when you run over a sharp thing. The tyre makes a phsst noise with each revolution of the wheel. Generally it takes three revolutions and the puncture gets sealed. I don’t generally even bother to put more air in the tyre when I am out – partly because the small pump I carry would struggle to add much air at a decent pressure.

I might well try to patch up the Durano tyres – but if so I will leave that until the Summer – when there is less grit on the roads and also when roadside repairs are much less tedious to carry out. So the road bike has gone onto Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres – well the rear tyre had and I decided to fit the replace the Durano at the front as well. Normally I wait until my wife is out and then use the kitchen table in the Winter, but with my son popping over the kitchen table was cleared for bike maintenance duties. Sons get it easier than husbands when they have left home it seems.

So we had a tyre-fitting “masterclass”. Although it was that masterly. I fitted his first tyre – with the aid of my new Park TL4.2 tyre levers. It went on quite well, although getting the last bit of the tyre onto the rim took more effort than I usually find. I left the second tyre as an exercise for my son and started to fit my new tyre.

He got his second tyre on – but must have nicked the inner tube with a tyre lever – so it had to come off and fix the nick and then back on again. (As time was running out – I also got the tyre off for him – again harder than I am used to.) The second time around we spent a lot of time massaging the tyre into the rim to maximise the slack at the other end. Even then it took a bit of careful tyre lever work.

All the tyre fitting must have used up my gumption (see Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for the reference). The tyre did not lie flat – it had a bit of a kink. I even tried using zip ties to stop it springing off as I worked my way around the rim. I reckon it took me as much time to fit my one tyre as my son’s two tyres. I will have to remember to ensure the tyre gets a bit of flattening next time.

I do wonder what his girlfriend will do if she gets a puncture whilst out and about. Personally I would cycle on the flat tyre – they were so tight that they would probably be ok for a few miles.

In the process I also showed him how to fit new brake blocks and get them sorted – thankfully it was very straightforward, which is what I had expected, until the tyre battles got me worried.

I noticed that Ben Hayward Cycles are now offering a Tannus tyre fitting service.

Suffering with punctures? Now fitting Tannus tyres. Flat free peace of mind.

— Ben Hayward Cycles (@BenHaywardCycle) December 9, 2015

It will be interesting to see how they ride. I would certainly consider using them – well on my hack bike that I use when I have to park in Cambridge’s mean streets (mean for cycle theft anyway). Apparently they are good for around 6,000 miles. Using the magic of the internet here is a review. Definitely worth thinking about.

Whilst talking about mileage – I hit my revised cycling goal for the year of 12,000Km/~7,500miles. What I have found though is that what with the windy, gloomy and wet weather and having reached my goal getting out for a ride has become harder again! I really don’t know how Steve Abraham, who is one of two cyclists trying to beat the Highest Annual Mileage Record does it. It must require significant mental and physical toughness to go out every day doing the miles they do. Chapeau

I hate the grime on the roads at the moment and I also find the various byways and bridleways that I routinely cycle on offputtingly muddy, but I much prefer not to be cycling where there are loads of motor vehicles. Having said that I have been working in the centre of Cambridge a few times and I can generally get in via Midsummer Common and avoid too much of the traffic. Although I find the the turn into Downing Street from St Andrew’s Street can be a little dodgy.

Generally the cyclists pile up alongside buses at the lights with most cyclists ready to turn left. Although I have nearly been rear-ended by a cyclist who obviously was so used to “turn left on red” that they couldn’t imagine I would stop. The thing is that pedestrians cross at that corner and in the hierarchy of perceptions of danger; motorists jumping red lights is really, really bad, cyclists jumping red lights is bad, well pedestrians crossing red lights is just one of those things to be expected! As only cyclists can turn left at this junction (coming the Regent St direction) most pedestrians either don’t realise or don’t care that I might be heading down Downing Street. If I do have the temerity to ring my bell I often get a cross look.

I don’t reckon that the crossing lights are very obvious to pedestrians, nor the cyclists might be coming through. Whilst I am moaning I do like the fact that the route from Parker’s Piece onto Regent Street is light controlled, however it can create conflict between cyclists and pedestrians, since waiting cyclists can unintentionally block the pavement. The same is true of the Maid’s Causeway Crossing from Midsummer Common. to get to the buttons you have to cycle up to the lights and end up blocking the pavement. Yes I know you could roll back, but it gets busy and you can end up with a queue of cyclists behind.

Whilst I suppose something is better than nothing it does highlight the way in which too often the provision for cyclists and pedestrians brings them into “conflict” too often. My general rule of cycling to meetings is if it is dry when I head out to go for it. There is also a point where if I leave it too late then I have to cycle as it is the quickest most reliable way into the city centre. I did take a dry set of clothes with me on one day, I didn’t need them, but it was pouring when I cycled home and I was “encouraged” to change from my wet clothes to my dry clothes just inside the back door as the kitchen floor had just been washed.

A few pictures from the week – I have been contributing to the #badlyparkedbike display of irony. Why does it matter. Well in my opinion the roads are getting more dangerous for cyclists, not radically so, but the injuries and deaths figures for cyclists are going in the wrong direction. I feel that part of the problem is that cycling and cyclists are treated as inferior when it comes to funding and designing facilities. Yet at the same time we have Governments wringing their hands about pollution, we have significant deaths each year attributed to pollution. The same government goes on about the cost of the NHS and also Obesity and its related problems. Yet the obvious elephant in the room is that we seem unable to see motoring for what it is – a major factor in the causes. Talk about inattentional blindness.

I drive, I own a car and have done so since is was 18. (Well there was a period when I had a company car). I need encouragement not to use it and yet I cycling is something I have enjoyed since I could first ride a bike. If I need encouragement then what about those that are scared to cycle – even the Cambridge PCC said he wouldn’t cycle in Cambridge. The trouble is most responses tend to be piecemeal rather than strategic the outcome of a planned approach with targets and measures. An example of this – “Police name Cambridge Schools in crackdown on bad parking”. (Note this links to the Cambridge News so you have been warned.)

I almost got door’d when cycling through a village – it was close enough that it was an instinctive swerve that save me. Yes I could have cycled further in the middle of the road – but then I would have been on the other side, in danger I had put myself in. The second dooring incident was as I cycled along a road with parked cars along one side a woman walked around to the drivers side saw me coming and without looking to see what was the other way swung her door wide and climbed in. Her “right” to climb into the car was more important than my safety. Many motorists really do think that a car trumps a bicycle when it comes to the rights of way on the road.

#Badlyparkedbike - Exning

Having said that – this is also the sunset season.

Looking across Ditton Meadows towards Cambridge

Bakers Fen – Wicken Fen

An Ivy-clad Tree – dying in a hedgerow

No comments:

Post a Comment