Sunday, 31 August 2008

BlackLOG in which I question the dubious parentage of bike tyres

I have been having a bit of trouble with my front tyre recently. If I leave it for any length of time it’s as flat as a pancake on my return - not reassuring when you actually want to go for a bike ride. Previous experience indicates that the tyre will be fine until I get to the furthest point from home, at which point it will inexplicably expel anything that remotely resembles air from its, for want of a better word, stomach, leaving it flapping around like Mick Jagger’s (aside 1) lips in a stiff breeze.

I decided to take no chances, so went out and purchased two new inner tubes and a set of road tyres, since we spend most of the time on roads anyway. For some strange reason my mountain bike came with Presta valves, which I associate with racing bikes (The valves are thin, a bit precious and make your tyres appear to be bulimic as they lose weight when you are not looking. I'm just surprised size zero catwalk model don't have them fitted). I took the complete front wheel along to a professional bike shop and asked for their “professional advice” on whether I could use an inner tube with a schrader valves (The fat ones that are also used on car tyres. I like these as when you're feeling lazy you can get a lift down to a local garage and get their compressor to do all the work).

“Oh yes, no problem with that Sir”
came the advice from the seasoned employee i.e. he looked about 18.

Inevitably when I tried to fit the new inner tubes, not a chance, the valves won't actually fit through the hub. Was he on loan from Halfords? I decided to change the tyres anyway. Now bearing in mind I did not touch the back wheel until after I changed the “problem” front one it was a little mystifying to find a couple of days later that the front one was now fit and healthy, while the back one looked like it had found a new home, which unfortunately for me happened to be a flat.

With bike pump on board I decided to chance it and set off with Mrs B and friends for a ride. Now that I had my nice new road tyres fitted I was overcome with a desperate desire to take every bridleway and byway I could lay my wheels on.

During the afternoon I discovered a number of things:

• Road wheels don’t have the same grip as the off road flavour but are great fun as you slide along muddy tracks.
• Men’s love of gadgets and gizmos can sometimes pay off. The male riders (Joe, Ash & myself) all had front shocks on our bikes making off-roading more fun while the girls, Mrs B and Kirsty (Ronnies Ex) made do with static forks, which turned out to be a bit painful, certainly for my ears, as the girls complained about my choice of route...
Mrs B giving me the "One more byway and it will be the highway for you" Look

• Men really don’t listen when given instructions (Ash needed to break off early from the ride, he managed to go wrong at the first instruction that I gave him). Either that or men really don’t give good instructions. I would really like to clear this matter up and let you know which it is, poor instructions or inability to listen. Unfortunately I can't help as I was otherwise engaged, not listening to the instructions I gave to Ash.

• Despite over 20 years difference in our ages (sadly not in my favour), when Joe and I saw groups of old people we jumped to the same conclusion:

Old people + large numbers = Tea & Cakes. This proved accurate and provided a very welcome end to our ride.

• Little old ladies running tea shops don’t take kindly to having their routine messed with, as Joe found out to his cost. He attempted to serve himself, as the little lady was alittle on the slow side. Not only did she do her best to avoid serving Joe after this, acting as if he did not exist, but when we left the establishment Joe discovered that his back tyre was mysteriously flat. The damage to the tyre looked suspiciously like it might have been done with a hat pin…..

Joe learns the hardway not to mess with the Lady of the Urn....He's lucky it was not his legs

Breaking News
Criminal friends
I discovered that our friend ‘Teach’ turns out to be an Alco-terrorist, taking on those nice people at Tesco’s in a desperate attempt to turn her two well-behaved under age sons into drunken ASBO candidates. Just as you think you know someone they manage to shock you Tesco Titters That’s Lincolnshire for you, I did try to warn you a few weeks back
Lincolnshire: just like the News of the World brought to life

Odd nuts!!!
Many years ago KP sold peanuts in Salt & Vinegar flavour. I Liked them ergo they stopped making them. I recently noticed that this odd snack is back. Much celebration, including back flips and high fives, I am happy to report that they are as good as I remember or would be if I were to try them (could someone please tell me when Mrs B has left the vicinity).
Not to everyones taste, but I like them, Which I suspect will lead to their rapid demise for a second time.....

----------------------That’s it for another BlackLOG-----------------

(1) Talking about the lead singer of the Rolling Stones brings me neatly to our friend Kirsty, who ran into Ronnie Wood the other day. From what she told me it sounds like the randy old sod was flirting with her, even inviting her back to his place to check out the sofa he was purchasing. I pointed out to her that being in her mid 20’s she was at least 6 years to old for him and not nearly tarty enough. Ronnie takes on Russia. I guess I should count myself lucky that Kirsty is not a slapper either, she might be small but she looks like she might pack a punch….. (Return to text)

I can't remember if this is Kirsty or Ronnie trying to avoid publicity?


  1. Niel, still managed to have party, complete with alcohol, from those nice people at Morrisons, AND kept my boys out of prison...lovely photos, have you considered some of that gloopy stuff you put in tyres to stop punctures - you seem a bit unlucky in the cycling dept

  2. Dear skipper sorry that we missed your all night rave. After 5 songs of R.E.M I realised that we had made a mistake and should have gone to your event after all. As for getting gloop to fix my tyres, great idea that it is I would lose 50% of my Blogging material. P.S did your No.2 son really invite an old man to his party????

  3. I can heartily agree that shopping at Morrison's is a far nicer experience. I live just around the corner from the first store they opened in the South (in Erith, back in 1998) and I have been a customer ever since it opened; cheap prices, friendly staff and a good selection - oh, and no checkout Gestapo spying on your purchases!


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