Monday, 7 July 2014

Fix a puncture

It's official. Living in London has made me soft!

What some of you - who don't know me or haven't known me for very long - probably don't know is that before I became the poetry loving, sushi eating, moisturiser wearing, tee total nancy boy you see before you today, I was was one the lads. A proper bonafide burger chopping, beer swilling, skirt chasing, football obsessed lad!

I say I was a lad. Not the type you're thinking of. I was never a womaniser or a fighter, I simply liked (and still do like) cars, football, boxing etc, all the stereotypical lad stuff. And sometimes - even now that I'm even softer than I was before - us men - even if you're not one of the lads - need to do something "manly" to make us feel like... well a man!

And low and behold last week presented me with two perfect opportunities to revel in my manliness! First of all my friend Leah asked me to help her carry a bookcase from a well known catalogue based shop - that still appears to be going strong despite the invention of the internet -  to her flat (because I'm a man). Then back at her flat - after some light banter from one of her house mates - I even partook in a bit of DIY, helping her to put said bookcase together, while watching the football and swigging beer water. How manly is that?!

Buoyed by this first feat of manliness it was time to do something even more manly, as well as something I have never done before... fix a puncture on my bike.

This is my bike. I love her. She is a 1990's Peugeot Road bike who I have affectionately christened Black Beauty.

I've had a puncture before - a couple of months ago - but the tires and inner tubes on my bike were so old it made sense - practically and for value for money - to replace the tyres and inner tubes instead of trying to fix the puncture by patching it up. Also I'd never tried to fix a puncture before - I have a vague memory of me as a child with my dad and a washing up bowl full of water but that's as far as my experience with bike tyres goes - so I wimped out a little and went with the easy option.

However, this time I made the decision to do the "manly" thing and fix it myself! So I went back to the catalogue based outlet and bought myself a "value range" - I'm extremely poor at the moment - puncture repair kit and headed home to fix my first puncture.

I started by taking the wheel off. Easy enough.

Next step take the tire off. This is where it started to get tricky. But by this point I had already watched several youtube videos to see how this is done. So I knew what to do. Except they made it look very simple online. A lot simpler than it proved that's for sure.

The puncture repair kit I bought came with two tire levers. This is where I started to wish I had bought a better kit - but I thought £10 was more than enough to pay - because being a "value range" kit the levers were rubbish and/or I didn't know how to use them and so the end snapped off one.

And then the other!

So it was time to go back to the drawing board - or youtube as it is now known -  where I watched several people make ripping the tire off the rim with nothing but your bare hands luck incredible easy.

So I give it a go. It is impossible!
But it feels good to get my hands dirty haha

So instead I perceiver with the broken tyre levers and low and behold I do it. I get the tyre off the rim!!!

& pull out the inner tube.

This is going quite well. I find the puncture by pumping up the tyre and listening and feeling for the escaping air. Here it is:

After finding the puncture I patch it up. Having watched lots of videos and reading or at least looking at the pictures of this blog I think I know what I am doing. However, again it proves much harder than it looks. The patches are too big and won't really work. So I cut them up and try that. This doesn't work either but eventually after a couple of botched jobs like this one:

I eventually get there, put it all back together & viola!

All done. And I'm felling all manly and very proud of myself. Although it should probably take around 5-10mins and it took me over an hour haha but it was my first try and that's the nature of firsts. It's not very often that you're good at something from the very first go. So hopefully I don't have to do it again anytime soon but I have fixed a puncture on my bike! Yay me and if I do need to do it again, firstly I now know how and secondly I'm sure I'll do a lot faster second time around.


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