Before you jump to conclusions about my inadequacies, I raise you whatever bicycle tire you have changed out successfully and see you an ancient butterscotch-colored fifteen passenger van loaded with (mostly) medicated schizophrenics. Now that was a tire change, my friends! Stuck by the side of the road, agency too cheap to pay for Triple AAA and me on tire swap duty while also well being the only one playing with a full deck. As I jacked that baby up I did a mental finger crossing and and hoped that none of the mentally challenged would wander into traffic.
Q: What's the secret to an easy car tire swap?
A: Always loosen the lug nuts before jacking up the tire.
Back to bicycles. I have a long un-proud history of striking out at bicycle tire change. My failures (and the failures I just stood around for) in no particular order:
- break tire levers without getting tire off wheel.
- not finding the puncture at all. stand around looking confused.
- put the mysteriously flat tire with no puncture back on and pump it up and whoa, still flat!
- patching a tire and having the puncture open up again. twice.
- pinching the tube in such a way that the tire goes flat all over again
- not being able to get the tire back on with the tube inside
- no pump. lost it somewhere.
- got the pump but do not have the right attachment for my tire type
- got pump and attachment but pump got broken somewhere along the way
- got a better pump but it was heavy so left it at home and now, yeah, no pump again..
- no patch kit. lost it somewhere.
- have patch kit but no glue and these are the patches that need glue
Lesson was with with my old Specialized Rockhopper bicycle. I appreciate that it wasn't the youngest horse in the barn but it's not like this thing was built by labor busting monkeys at Wal-Mart either. He gets out tire levers, shows me where to put them (ha) and then demonstrates how to break the seal and then invites me to try. I can't get the tire off. He tries. And tries. The veins stand out on his neck and his face shows mild annoyance. "Some are harder than others" he says as he pries and yanks. The tire comes off. I look doubtful.
The in between parts are not that bad. Blow up the tube and stick it in water or eyeball or feel along the rubber as you look for the leak. Patch the leak. That's all ok. Checking the inside of your tire for more bullshit dropped by automobiles is ok also although I advise not using your finger for this if what you are checking for is broken glass.
Now it's time to put the tube in the tire and put tire and tube back on the naked wheel. The entire struggle of getting the tire off has to happen in reverse with the added caveat that you now need to be careful not to pinch your tube or damage it in some fresh way. So it's a miserable struggle and it's also stressful.
Why is this all so awful? Car people refer to a "spare tire" but what they have is a "spare wheel." We are not all that comfortable carrying a spare wheel around because unlike the petroleum people we have no giant trunk.
I guess I'm just saying, couldn't this be any better? Please?