Wednesday, June 12, 2013

XTraining Diary: Going Flat, Tire Changing Tips & Kit of the Day

Kit of the Day-Rudy Project: Racing Jersey and WindMax Helmet. Cycle Shorts & Gloves by Gore Bike Wear.
Rapha's Women's 100 Training Ride, NJ: I was so happy to get out on the road again after so much rain. In fact this spring has been the coldest on record in 50 yrs and with the added precipitation, has kept me from getting the usual amount of riding I would be doing about now.

I know.  It's only flat on the bottom
So today, the sun is shining, the humidity is low and although it's about 81 degrees, there was a delicious breeze blowing out of the southwest. I donned my spiffy Rudy Project Kit and headed out for my ride. Only 2 miles in, I noticed THIS when I stopped:

Calling the Sag Wagon
While I'll admit to being mechanically challenged to some degree when it comes to bicycle repairs, I know when to call in the experts.
Mr. Husband, (affectionately known as The Count), is a pro bicycle mechanic / bicycle shop owner and is the only one who sets up and maintains my bicycles. He's a rock-star in the industry, so to speak, having appeared in action on many MTV commercials. So rather than try to change a rear wheel on the road, I called him.  After arriving home, I decided to record some of his top, rear tire changing tips. This could help make the process go a little faster if you are already familiar with the basics.

Removing Your Rear Wheel
1. Move chain to small sprocket using gear shifters. (Having a bicycle stand is helpful)
2. Loosen Brake Cable
3. Open and release Quick Release Lever
4. Pull back derailleur and push tire forward to disengage
The rear wheel is off and waiting for a new tube & tire
This would be a good time to clean the wheel hub or any other hard to read areas of your derailleur. I just cleaned my chain so it made his job a bit easier. Most bicycle mechanics appreciate a clean bike when you take it to the shop.

Replacing the Tube and Tire
1. Line up the new tube with the valve holes on the rim after inflating it slightly
2. Set the Bead by aligning the tire with the rim so that it's even all around. If not the tire will make a bumping sound when you ride.

Once the bead is set, completely inflate the tire.
Reinstall the rear tire (reverse the removal steps) and make sure the gears, brakes are restored to the proper position. Things can get out of alignment during a tire change so it's good to go for a test drive after the tire is replaced.  

Test Drive
Listen for any chain rubbing sounds, noises or any bumps.  Any of these problems can be remedied by the mechanic (or you). Chain sounds or rubbing can often mean your gears need a bit of adjusting.  Remember, we moved to the small sprocket to get the wheel off so they may need to be repositioned. A rhythmic bumping in your tire means the bead was not properly lined up with the rim. 

So while I am not yet comfortable enough to change a rear tire on my own, I believe with this information, I can now change a front tire on the road. I will start carrying a spare tube for just such an emergency. Today I was treated to some very helpful instruction from an expert bicycle mechanic so I got much more than my usual training ride.  I'd call that a win!

Ta-Da! New tube and Handmade Vredestein Fortezza Racing Tire on my Terry Symmetry

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