When Mick took himself off to the world of employment, leaving me carless, I thought that I would be a good idea to get my bicycle back on the road. It has sat unused in the back of the shed for the last two and a half years and its tyres, as well as being flat, were perishing.
That was three months ago now, and even though I got around to buying new tyres and inner tubes back in November, they have also been sitting in the shed waiting to be fitted.
Now that I’m half way through my carless period (or to put that another way Mick’s half way through his employment) I thought I’d better get around to fixing the bike, telling myself that it would be a quick job.
It was only when I started that I realised that I have never even had to fix a puncture before (hope that’s not tempting fate; the last puncture I recall was when I was six or seven). Fortunately, I remember watching my Gran fixing punctures on her old Raleigh Shopper (I distinctly recall the handles of two forks being used in the process!), and I’m a reasonably handy person, so how difficult could it be?
The front wheel came off without too much difficulty and although the removal of the tyre and fitting of the new one was trickier than I expected, it didn’t take me long to have it restored to the frame and looking shiny and new.
Then came the rear wheel with the difficulty of gears. It started going really awry when a piece came off and I didn’t notice where it came from. Onwards I ploughed and soon enough I had the new tyre fitted to the wheel.
Reassembly of the wheel/gears did not go well. I’m still not entirely sure where the spare part goes and I finally came to the conclusion that I need a third hand to be able to put the chain-to-gears mechanism-thing back in its proper place (not that I’ve yet worked out exactly where its proper place is).
So, the bicycle is still upside down in the house, and I ended the task with very oily hands. I think that latex gloves may have been advisable.
Getting Back In
Whilst I had the toolbox out, I also finally (two and a half years overdue in this case) got around to fitting a new cylinder in the night-latch on the front door. The old one was getting more and more difficult to open and I really didn’t want to get to the point of being locked out before I changed it.
After the bicycle debacle, I knew that this really was only a ten minute job.
It clearly wasn’t my day.
Off came the lock, out came the old cylinder, in went the new one and one of the securing screws was duly hack-sawed down to size (a one-minute job). I don’t know what the second securing screw is made out of, but none of the three hacksaws I have in my toolbox would so much as put a dent in the side of it.
At that point I gave up with practical jobs for today.