Riders on the storm

April 29, 2015 at 20:49 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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‘The storm of the Century’. “Stormpocalypse’. These were the headlines after Sydney recently copped some bad weather. Some areas north of Sydney had some truly appalling weather – with significant flooding, houses washed away, and tragically a number of people died.

Central Sydney, however, got some heavy rain and it was a bit windy. Yes, there were a few local streets a bit flooded. A fair few trees came down. Some houses were damaged a bit. But it did seem a bit odd that the Sydney Morning Herald seemed to devote so much space to the problems of umbrellas being turned inside out. Umbrellageddon indeed…

pathblockedThings did all get quite exciting when the NSW Premier, Mike Baird, told everyone to go home early to avoid the storm. This prompted a mass exodus from our office, and many people offered me a lift, as surely I wasn’t going to ride?

Well, of course I was. As I said to my colleagues, I’d get wet, but get home on time. They were going to be stuck in a traffic jam for five hours. So I rode home, and yes, it was wet and rather windy, but not that bad. I did pass a lot of stationary traffic, however…

The next morning, there was a problem, however. A tree had come down over the path leading to Gladesville Bridge, completely blocking the way. This is the only way to access the path over the bridge, and is a busy commuter route. The steel fence made it rather hard to get round, although I (and several others) managed to lift our bikes over and then climb over ourselves.

pathclearSo the following morning I took a pair of secateurs (I couldn’t fit anything bigger in my bag), with a view to cutting my way through. Cutting through a fallen tree with some small shears is actually rather hard, I discovered, but I am rather stubborn and once I get started I like to finish. So I hacked away at the thick foliage, working the blades round and round each branch until it yielded. After about an hour, I had cleared a small path through. Just as I finished, someone rode through on a mountain bike, barely slowing down. My path was open!

I did report the fallen tree to both the council and the RMS (Sydney roads authority), but as yet it has not been properly cleared. I daresay there is quite a backlog of work to be done; however one wonders if the trees that blocked major commuter motorist routes were attended to rather sooner…

Finally, I must tip my hat to this mystery cyclist, whose image has been flashed across the globe as he powers through Sydney floodwaters. If ever there was a picture that demonstrated the practicality and exuberance of cycling vs the impotent, soulless scourge of the motor vehicle, it is surely this!

 

cycliststorm

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What to do with a dodgy tube?

October 2, 2012 at 21:11 | Posted in bicycles | 2 Comments
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My rear tyre kept going flat. Just slowly, but obviously enough that I was putting much more air into it than the one on the front. Then, on Wednesday, I got my bike out of the garage to go to work and it had gone really very soft.

A puncture. I’d been putting it off, but now I had to do it. Luckily I had a bit of spare time, so I quickly felt around the outside of the tyre. I quickly found a large bit of splintered glass embedded in the rubber. ‘That’s probably what is was.’, I thought, and rather than taking the wheel off (no quick-release on the fixie) I just levered the tyre off at the point and pulled a bit of the tube out to patch the hole. If the hole was there it was too small to see, and I couldn’t feel any sharp edge inside the tyre either , so the splinter seemingly hadn’t got through the kevlar puncture protection layer. Whatever – I had a new tube, so I whip the wheel off, replace the tube, get it all back together and off we go – all done and dusted in less than ten minutes.

This weekend, I had a spare moment, so thought I’d patch up the old tube. Put some air in, put it in a bowl of water and go around to find the hole. Nothing obvious at first, but then it was quite a slow puncture. Put some more air in to stretch it a little, and go around more carefully. That tell-tale stream of bubbles remains obstinately absent.

Put more air in to really stretch it father than recommended, and go around really carefully, and inch at a time, pulling it as I go.

Nothing.

All very strange. A very very very slow puncture? Dodgy valve? Who knows. It’s now been inflated in the garage for two or three days, with no apparent air leakage.

So now I’m debating what to do with the tube. Of the options below, which would you recommend?

  1. It’s obviously fine. Pack it up in your seat bag as your spare.
  2. It’s obviously dodgy. Chop it up and use it to pad out that new rear light fitting that’s too big to fit securely on the seat stays.
  3. It might be dodgy. Buy a new spare, but keep it for emergency use.
  4. Give it to a friend as a gift.
  5. Eeeeygh, I can’t believe you tested a used inner tube in your kitchen sink. That’s so unhygienic.

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