The night of the bike exploration, Daisy gave me a fright. I thought I’d gotten a flat….pumped her up using Mary Poppins’ frame pump and it seemed to do no good. I wasn’t sure if it was where we were trying (by the duck pond) so when we got back to the house I sat outside and tried again….and it seemed good….for a block. So I tried…AGAIN…and it seemed good….until we got to the school. You see where this is going? Yeah…our ride of 6km took longer than necessary….yet Daisy’s tire never went FLAT…just…flat. Does that make sense? Sure it does.
So… I’d never changed or repaired a flat, but my sister-in-law has, many many many times. Over last weekend, I took Daisy over, we took off her tire (thank god it was the front!), and she taught me how to check for a leak (in case you were wondering, there were NONE) and then how to “patch” (in theory), and finally we put everything back together.
Relevance, you may ask?
Gino. (Remember Gino?) Yeah… his front tire needed work waaaay back in January… and then 40 other bikes (slight exaggeration) came through our lives while he languished in storage and Deb found a replacement for his missing front fender. He languishes no longer!
Deborah brought him over the other night, along with a patch kit and a replacement tube of the right size for just-in-case, and her knowledge gleaned from YouTube videos (thanks MEC!) and faint childhood memories of her Dad fixing flats on her sister’s ten-speed. Between us, with our combined learnings, we had enough clues to fix Gino’s flat ourselves (much to the shock and delight of an elderly gentleman who was walking by and offered his help)!
The hardest part of the process was loosening the bolts. One of them had been tightened with super-mechanic-powers and getting it started meant me leaning on the wrench with all my weight while Deb held the bike still with all her weight.
At the same time as we took the front (flat) tire off, we also installed the very very very shiny new fender. (Deb thinks it’s made by Wald if anyone is looking for something similar.) The rest of Gino will need the lemon-and-aluminum treatment to get him even remotely as handsome as that fender. Maybe we need to take him for a ride in the mud and get the new fender a little grimy and scratchy first.
The old tube. See where the old patch is, right beside the valve? It’s starting to let go, and when you squeezed the tube another hole was visible right beside the patch. We had already suspected that a tear beside the valve might be the problem, since the valve was coming out of the hole in the rim at a 45 degree angle (instead of perpendicular to it). So rather than patching, we discarded the tube entirely and used the new one instead.
In a perfect world we would’ve replaced the tape in the rim too…but it wasn’t in HORRIBLE condition at all, I’m sure it’ll do just fine until Gino needs more loving!
Hand pumping with an old frame pump is quite a workout.
Hand pumping with an old frame pump that needs the seal (aka “leather”) replaced inside it is even more of a workout. When we realized it was taking an awfully long time to fill the tube, I also realized that Deborah’s pump sounds different from my father-in-law’s almost-identical-looking frame pump, as in, not as much air was coming out. Switching pumps did the trick. (I guess there will be a future post on how to fix an old frame pump?).
After finishing, we gave it a test ride for other issues. The bottom bracket feels pretty smooth. With the twenty-inch wheels, we never really get to straighten our knees when we’re riding. That would be a problem for everyday rides, but this will be perfect for feet-on-the-ground balance-bike-style slow slow riding with my little ones on their bikes (they’re five and two, so, not riding very fast yet).
We figure with a good cleaning and some black hockey tape or electrical tape as a temporary fix for the tears in the banana seat, plus a bell (they’re required by law here in Edmonton), Gino is ready to ride! And we did it ourselves! Total cost: 1 hour of our time, less than $5 for the replacement tube at Canadian Tire, less than $20 for the fender on eBay, and the $40 we paid for Gino on Kijiji.
Oh, wrenches! I also got these great socket wrenches at the wonderland that is Princess Auto.
Notice that they’re both Metric & SAE? (Apparently SAE in sizing LITERALLY translates into Non-Metric sizing) I see these coming in VERY handy for fixing bikes who might have those odd little parts….not so much the Raleighs, but oh, we have a lovely spanner that Deb got for Mary Poppins, so we “should” be set….ha.