Owning a bike
Earlier this year, I moved house. I used to live within a relatively small amount of walking distance to my place of work – something that I really didn’t mind doing but due to unforseen circumstances, I had to give up that rather over-priced awesomely located flat for an even better value for money house quite a bit further out from town. 5 kilometres out of town in fact. Time to get a bike!
After my excursion to Chinapan (China and Japan) I decided to get a bike to try and minimise my daily walking commute of between 50 minutes and an hour each direction. I decided on getting a hybrid which is a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike in terms of how lightweight it is and the thickness of the tyres. The wheels are also pretty massive so that you get a good distance for your efforts. I’ve never really ridden anything other than a mountain bike, and I was hooked as soon as I had my first ride on it.
I wouldn’t say that I knew everything there is to know about bikes, but thanks to my Dad when I was a lot younger he showed me how to mend a puncture and change a tyre – probably partly because he was so bored with me and my sister constantly asking him to fix it. It turns out that it was invaluable experience because since then I’ve been asked by several people how they go about changin a tyre or mending a puncture. It’s really not hard, but it does require a bit of patience. And a puncture repair kit – that usually helps. I won’t tell you how to do it here because there are plenty of video tutorials about how to do it, I was just shocked at how someone could own a bike and not know how to mend a puncture – they’re pretty common.
Since getting the bike I’ve ventured a bit further into my own bike maintainence, and in doing so learned a bit more about bikes. Like the valves on the wheels I use are called Presta valves which are more traditional valves, but make it more annoying because you can’t pump them back up with normal pumps, you have to get an adapter. I’ve also learned how to fine tune the front derailleur for the gears because the friction of the chain rubbing against it on a certain gear was getting irritating and giving me a load more drag than I actually thought.
I’ve recently tried to fit my own mud flaps in preparation for the coming winter horrible months but apparently a common problem with them is that the vast majority of them come with attachment bolts that are too small to actually fit them on. So beware if you ever have to buy your own. Before the winter actually gets here I need to get a hose (to wash off all the horrible sand that gets cemented to my gears), lights, waterproof trousers (probably should be higher up on my list), and maybe some high-vis stickers.
On a nice day, I absolutely love riding my bike – the ride along the bay in Swansea is absolutely gorgeous; however on days like today where the rain actually felt like tiny little stones and I had to ride with only one eye open, I do start to wonder if getting the bus might be the better idea. That being said I really love tinkering and messing around with and actually riding my bike. 🙂