Bicycle Repair Time
I finally fixed my front wheel. I had never done it before but it turned out to be easier and quicker than I thought to change a tube. It had been leaking very slowly for months, requiring me to pump it up before every trip. A real pain in the ass. But after taking it off the rim and submerging it in water several time failed to find the leak to patch, I finally bit the bullet and shelled out four clams (ouch!) for the new tube.
Great was my disappointment to discover I bought a dunlop valve tube, which doesn’t fit a regular pump; but greater was my satisfaction to learn that there are adapters and they are very cheap.
Even though I continued to squeeze the wheels before riding, I couldn’t help feel disappointed that the thrill of a properly inflated tire faded almost immediately. The imaginary Man-of-your-choice in the sky must have heard my prayers, because the back wheel was now rapidly leaking air slowly. And brother, that was a bitch, because the rear wheel is the one that bears the bulk of your fat ass. Even pumping up before a trip was not enough, before a kilometer was behind you the tire would bottom out on the smallest of bumps. In this town of cobblestone and tramtracks, it’s enough to make a man livid.
I was afraid to change the back wheel, because of the chain et cetera, but it turned out to be not so bad. And this time, the thrill remained and still does.
But just to make sure I learned my lesson, Gabriel broke my back light, which I then repaired, only to find he also broke my speed shifter. Actually, the hook that attaches to the cable that attaches to the speed controller snapped from fatigue. This is a part that is not so easy to replace, because it’s a Sturmey Archer hub. They are quite ingenious, really. But they require the constant pull of the tension cable to stay in gear. Thus, my bike is now stuck in third gear.
I’ve decided to wait a while before fixing that. It’s not that bad because Dresden is mostly flat until you get to the edges of the valley. (They used to call Dresden the Valley of the Clueless back in coldwar days because they couldn’t get West German TV signals, by the way.) But more importantly, I think it will keep my bike from getting messed up even more.