Category Archives: Tire

What do you hear?

Heading down from the Col du Galibier to Lauteret just before overtaking

Heading down from the Col du Galibier to Lauteret just before overtaking

Think this could be a theme coming on, wandering around the senses?

I was very conscious of the sound of my tyres on the road the other day. It was quite windy & I was freewheeling down hill with the wind behind. The tarmac was fairly smooth and a delightful hum came from the front wheel, with no other sound. It set me thinking.

Normal bike sounds, the usual sound of the freewheel, usually fairly quiet on my Shimano set up. The clunk of the gear change or horrendous crunch if, as I occasionally do, get it wrong. The rasp of the tyres in an occasional skid to stop or over-egging it, the squelch through a puddle or ford, the crunch through gravel, the click over the local train level crossing (which is far from level) or the thud over lumps of tractor mud.  The different noises from the brakes – a gentle rub of pads on the rim, a short squeal if there is dust around or a foul crunching if a wet day has thrown gravel onto the rim. The chatter of cycling companions around or beside you usually entertains you. Then there is the explosion of an inner-tube blowing or the hiss of it leaking.

Then there’s the traffic. The quiet hum of cars, or noisier deep throated rumble of a diesel vehicle, coming up behind. The click of a bike gear change that lets you know a fellow cyclist has teamed up. The roar of a boy racer’s car (not usually women) as it violently accelerates past you. The disturbing hoot of a horn sounding from an impatient motorist behind. There’s also the shout of an irate motorist from beside you, often for no reason, ah the joys of pathetic road rage. The sounds of trains running on nearby railway tracks or tractors working in the fields.

Then there are nature’s sounds surrounding you. The different wind noises is almost always a variable constant, sometimes the patter of rain, the crunch of hail or the crack of thunder. There is also the cries of birds and the flurry of wings as they fly towards or away from you. The sparking of the hooves of deer or sheep as they scamper out of your way, hopefully.  Dogs often bark, or sometimes growl as you ride past, sometimes giving you a doppler effect. Horses in fields or ridden along the road give a whole variety of snorts, whimpers coughs etc, with riders often shouting out a cheery greeting, or a quick ‘thanks’.

Also the welcome salutations of friends, other pedestrians or cyclists are an ever welcome part of the soundscape.

But, the worst is the sound of a fall or crash and the groans of the one who has come to grief, such a compendium of grating noises – hopefully hardly ever heard.

And the strangest thing of all, the fact that for those of us lucky enough to have hearing, we mostly just take all of this for granted.

So . . . . . . . . what do you hear?

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Derailleur Failleur and insult to injury

Now that's what I call a thorn!

Now that’s what I call a thorn!

Be prepared?

Just a couple of days ago, I was down in my low grandpa gear climbing one of our many steep gradients (this one ramps up to just under 17% according to Strava).

Kerchang, ping kerplunk, aghghghghgh! An abrupt halt.

Inspected the damage. The rear derailleur had catapulted into the rear wheel. One spoke was broken as well.

Luckily, being a cautious sort of chap (except when descending fast) and a boy sprout in my yoof and I’d just been putting up some posters, I had the wherewithal to take off the derailleur via its hanger & jury rig it to the frame with bits of string. To add insult to injury as  was doing all this I noticed a giant thorn in the back tyre (not the one in the photo though!) and heard a faint hissing sound. Second one in a week, off with the wheel, extract the thorn, replace the tube and get ready to rumble. Luckily I was nearish home & managed to scoot the 2 1/2 miles back with some freewheeling down & walking up. So, off to the bike doctor with the poor bike.

So on to the old iron steed the next day out with my compadres. This poor old hybrid has been sadly neglected & climbing up was a nightmare of slipping chain, missed gears, fluffed changes and even the saddle decided to come loose. Ah well serves me right.

So today, fitted new chain & cassette & started a TLC campaign on the poor thing. Alas, I knew I had to change the chainrings as well. Trouble is, they are hard to get, especially at a reasonable price, so the hunt for replacements goes on.

But – and it’s a biggie – life out on the bike still is enjoyable & invigorating even with the hassles. And thanks for the help my cycling mates gave me, overlooking my curses & general grumpiness for 35+ miles.

8th Time lucky?

After numerous repairs, sorting time again

After numerous repairs, sorting time again

Back home from South Africa. Fabulous roads, lots of sun (winter but 25 degrees C in the sun), but on a borrowed mountain bike.

Offroad could have been fun & I managed a couple of dirt roads. So what went wrong?

First of all, bits were hanging off & needed adjusting. Flat tyres and a bit sad altogether. So a quick go-over, trip to the garage to blow up the tyres (no pump available) & then head out on the road. Discovered only a few of the gears were working and the bike weighed a ton. More adjustments but to no avail, not worth spending too much time so I was just grateful to be out on two wheels.

Next ride the rear wheels skewed & hit the frame. So a quick walk back, re-adjust, tighten up & go, with the spanner in my pocket.

Another ride, 2 1/2 miles out and a strange bump, bump, bump from the rear tyre followed by an explosion. The workers on a nearby building site looked up in amazement (fear?). The rear tube had forced it’s way through the back tyre, which was pretty bad having been used for slides & skids, and had not lasted long.

Walked back, then next day off to the bike shop for a new tyre. Because of crazy thorns off-road a ‘tubeless’ solid tube was fitted. Looked like no tubes so no hassle.

After a couple of rides, after 10 miles and 1/2 a mile or so from the house. strange wobbly sensation from the back wheel & rubbing again. Dismounted & found the tyre had dismounted too. A guy walking passed tried to help me ease it on again but no luck, so another walk home.

Back to the bike shop. Discovered the wire had ripped right out of the bead of the tyre. Neither I nor the shop had seen it before (or so they told me). New tyre was then fitted so it should be hassle free.

Out again next day, just got 1/2 mile from home. The new tyre started coming off the rim again. Walked back and gave up as I was coming back home in a couple of days.

Then, back home to Scotland – hurrah a decent bike, no hassles at last. Boy, was I wrong!!!!

First ride out, great going way better than expected, except one of the farmers had put a water hose across the road, with a metal cover on top. The sun was out & I didn’t see it till the last moment. At over 30 mph, managed to jump the front wheel over but smacked it a bit with the rear.Waited for the hiss, but nothing so completed the ride.

Next day out with the B-Spokes (a group of mainly FOSSILS), so went through to the bike – flat. In double quick time whipped the inner tube out, chucked a new one in and pumped up the tyre. Noticed the rear gear cable was looking a bit frayed. But, no time to wait – sped off to meet the others.

Good ride, good coffee, good scones but 2 miles from home, guess what? Yes, the rear gear cable snapped so I waved the others on ahead and slowly made my way back.

So, the conclusion is – not much really, except to hope for a better few weeks and a wee reminder that checking the bike is a good thing? Maybe all bad things may come to an end?