As I mentioned in my post a month ago, the ‘big’ ride is dependent upon a few factors, such as the absence of Covid and lockdowns. Of course the inevitable has happened, we are in level 4 lockdown after a long (and probably lucky) absence of the nasty bug from our shores.
Level 4 lockdowns tend to put a serious damper on training rides, especially outside your neighbourhood, but hopefully the ‘go hard go early’ approach will work and it will be all over in a flash (yeah right). Unfortunately, it does look as though the sneaky little Delta variant has been lurking around Auckland undetected for a few weeks and our one initial case is probably just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ (probably need to think of another saying in the not to distant future given that icebergs are on the growing list of endangered species (not to mention humans)).
Prior to the re-emergence of Covid, the wheels had literally already come of the training program. On Saturday I mounted up the Trek and realised that the bikes unusual sluggishness was due to a very flat rear tyre. No problem, I could get some much need practice on my puncture repairing skills. Well those skills proved to be severely MIA as I could not even get the tyre to separate from the rim – must be these tubeless ready setups and the tyre was glued to the rim. After almost destroying my thumbs I waved the white flag and decided to visit the bike shop on Monday rather than risk wrecking my wheel rim as well.
Only one thing to do, dust off the Onya folder and take it for a ride. Wow, what a difference after riding the Trek. It felt like riding a heavy brick along the road, I had to go for pedal assist and my ‘maintenance’ 32 kilometres felt more like 64.
On Monday I rolled up to the bike shop with my dodgy tyre. I mentioned that I was probably lucky that I did not get a flat halfway up Ninety Mile Beach during my easter ride. I most likely would have ended up throwing the repair gear into the surf before spending a day or so walking back to civilisation. The shop owner gave me the “idiot” look and popped the tyre off the rim before I even had a chance to see how he did it. He tried to make me feel better by commenting: “I have strong thumbs”. Note to myself, start weight training with your thumbs.
I purchased a new tyre and promised him that I would go home and practise on the other tyre by swapping the front tyre to the back wheel. Same problem, no matter how hard I worked the tyre it would not budge off the rim. Ruth suggested that I should just abandon the whole trip, which, if I could not get this sorted, was a distinct possibility. The already severely weakened state of my pathetic thumbs was of course not helping.
I went back to the bike shop and this time asked him to do a slomo version of what he had done an hour earlier. Aha, it was all about the placement of the thumbs, I had mine too close together. The rest of the process was no problem (I have repaired multiple punctures) – well so I thought.
Ruth headed off on her allowable ‘lockdown walk’ and I decided to take my now functioning Trek for a ‘lockdown ride’ around town. As I pedalled off down the road something was not right, the bike felt like one of those you see clowns riding in a circus. It was weird, it was like riding along a corrugated road – when I inspected both wheels I noticed that both were looking odd when I spun them. A quick Google of the problem revealed that this can happen. I have removed them, successfully (wohoo) taken the tyres off, made sure that the tube is sitting correctly and that the tyres are correctly sitting in the rims.
I am not confident but at this point unable to take them for a test run. When Ruth got home she informed me that she had gone and had a Covid test, just in case, as we had been circulating in some of the parts of Auckland that the virus had. So we are waiting for her results before being allowed to venture out on anymore lockdown exercise.
PS 20/8/21 – The Covid test was negative and I managed to sort out the wonky tyres – tyre not setting into the rim correctly – fixed it by ‘painting’ dishwashing detergent along the edge of the tyre then inflating to max pressure – the tyres popped into place.