Is A Better Bicycle Really Worth It ?

Is A Better Bicycle Really Worth It ?

I admit it – I like to ride a bicycle. I think that it’s good exercise and I like to get out into the fresh air. Let me say at this point that I don’t ride on roads with high traffic, as I think that it’s too dangerous. My riding is on dedicated cycleways and paths and its all about “smell the roses” along the way. A nice steady ride. None of the “head down tail up” stuff you see from the hard riding dedicated cyclists.

I recently bought a new bike and this has caused me to ask a few questions and ponder “the meaning of life”.

My old bike was bought back in about 2005 and over the years there have been many parts replaced due to to wear and tear and the occasional spill.
But – just like soft brakes on an automobile can creep up on you, many things had started to creep up on my bike without me paying much attention to them.

Let me also say that I’m not big on bike maintenance – I know that I should be – but I always seem to have too many other, more important things to do – So I adopt the “If it ain’t broke – Don’t try and fix it” approach.
I think that I did clean it once over the 12 years or so – but normally relied on the next shower of rain that I got caught in to wash it down.
After all – Its only a bike and with fairly simple mechanical components – I always gave the chain and sprockets a good dose of lubricant – what could possibly go wrong.
I would have my ride and put the bike in the shed until the next ride. All Good

I won’t bore you with all of the details, but when I finally did give it the attention it needed I was looking at replacing wheel bearings, the sprocket assembly, the chain, various wheel spokes and there was a split in the wheel rim, a buckled wheel etc etc.
Obviously just not worth spending the money to fix it when compared with the cost of a new, similar bike.
So I bought a new bike.

Now – This is where the conundrum starts

With my old bike I was riding about 60 km (38miles) and after the ride there was a fair degree of aching in the legs and I generally would feel fairly whacked. This would carry over into the next day and it was only on the third day that I was back to normal.
Now with my new bike I am riding the same distance, but with none of the aching and feeling whacked afterwards. So – obviously the old bike was in pretty poor shape and fairly inefficient – to say the least.

But I’m not getting the “workout” that I was getting before !!!

• I could try and ride faster and with more intensity – but I ride on a shared path and there is always a steady stream of pedestrians (including children and dogs) and at 67 years of age I really don’t know that I’m capable of pushing the speed.

• I could ride further – i.e. a longer ride, but do I want to commit to more time in the saddle ?

• I could look at making the bike less efficient with maybe a slight steady brake on the wheel – but this is a bit radical and probably an impractical/stupid idea!

• I could try and get in more, maybe shorter rides – but this would not make up for intensity.

I know that some people will say – buy an exercise bike or go to the gym and adjust the resistance but:-

1 – I have tried these exercise bikes and I don’t like them – I like to get out in the fresh air and see things.
2 – I’m lazy – if I’m riding a machine and get tired I will find an excuse to stop and get off – If I’m 30 km from home and get tired theres no couch nearby, it’s grit your teeth and keep going.

Mmmmmm – So it’s back to the Drawing Board

Then again ………

Maybe having an easier ride isn’t such a bad thing after all !!



Basic Maintenance Is Important And I Dodged A Bullet

Basic Maintenance Is Important And I Dodged A Bullet

Sometimes even the most mundane of stories can have an important message
(apologies to the Americans – I’m spelling “tyre” the Australian way)

I’m probably one of the worlds worst when it comes to checking the tyres on my vehicle.
I haven’t had a problem for years and my mindset is that tyre technology is so good that there is virtually no chance of a problem.
So far so good.
And yes I know that I should check the tyre pressures when I’m “filling up”.
But It’s always – I’ll do it “Next Time”

So I’m driving along a back street and negotiating one of the many small roundabouts which are springing up everywhere when BANG – being a lazy driver I didn’t quite turn the steering wheel enough and I managed to clip the kerb edge with the rear wheel.
Dash it all – I thought to myself.
Hoping that I have not dented the rim of the wheel and caused a slow leak.
About fifteen minutes later I’m parked in the driveway of my house and having a good look at the tyres.
Visually, the tyre that I clipped looks to be softer than the others. I needed to check the tyre pressures – but its been so long since I used my tyre pressure gauge that I’ve got no idea were it is. This would be the logical thing to do.
Anyway – The more I looked at the tyre, the more convinced I was that it was softer than the others.
So, out with the spare and I changed the suspect tyre.

Once the tyre was off, I was able to give it a close inspection and was fully expecting to see a dent on the wheel rim which was causing a leak.

Surprise, Surprise – the rim looked good but as I rolled the tyre around I saw a metal hex head embedded in the surface of the tyre. Sometimes stones and similar can get wedged between the tread and give the impression that something has driven into the tyre when in fact that’s not the case and that is what I was expecting to see.
On closer examination I could see shaft of the small bolt protruding into the tyre – EUREKA

Almost certainly that was the cause of the leak.










I then made a trip to the tyre service centre to get the tyre fixed and was very surprised to see the hex head bolt which was removed. A flat end – no sharp point.






To give some perspective – this is the removed bolt placed atop the tyre




I can only guess that an awful lot of coincidences came together to drive this bolt into the tyre.

And how long had it been embedded in the tyre ? Have I picked it up from standard highway and street use ? – It’s been a very long time since I was on a site.

For me – Murphy’s Law generally kicks in with the worst which can go wrong at the worst possible time.
So on this occasion I’m thanking my lucky stars that I clipped that kerb, otherwise I could have been experiencing a flat tyre at the worst possible moment – not that there is ever a good time to get a flat.

I guess that the message I would like to share is – not to get complacent and that the simplest and most basic maintenance tasks still need to be done.





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