November 21, 2013 by welshcyclist
Last Monday that is.
On the previous Sunday morning, i.e., the day before Monday, I cycled home from my nightshift accompanied by a tinny clicking sound coming from I don’t know where, it was so annoying. After a few hours in bed, I got up and went out the back to have a good look at my Pioneer. I set it up my small workstand, turned the pedal and there it was……tink, tink, tink……!
After much examination and a lot of frustration, I found it! A spoke had broken on the back wheel at the hub, on the drive side, and a piece of the spoke, about an inch long was falling on every other spoke….tink, tink, tink.
This was the opportunity for me to use the new tool kit I recently bought via my employer’s Cyclescheme, for the very first time. I was nervous and excited, because as I’ve said so many times before, in this blog of mine, I’m not very good at being a mechanic. Nevertheless, I got my tool kit out of the shed, took off the back wheel, took off the tyre and tube, and retrieved the nipple end of the broken spoke out of the wheel rim, and came to a dead end! To get the tinking piece out of the hub end required me to remove the cassette, I hadn’t thought of that at the start of my mechanical adventure, proof positive of my lack of experience, and quite frankly, I bottled it. Leaving the tinking blighter in situ, I put everything back together, successfully, I might add, and took the Pioneer out for a test run…….tink, tink, tink………Doah!!!
I have a Bike Care Plan with Halfords, a three year plan, with one left to run. Everytime I’ve had cause to use the plan I’ve met with problems, some of which I’ve described in earlier posts over the years. It is supposed to provide servicing, repair and maintenance when needed labour free, with just the cost of parts. I needed a new spoke fitted, and as I was too chicken to do it myself, I thought, over to you Halfords!! I explained this to my neighbour Keith over the garden fence, whose comment was, “they’re going to do that for free?” I replied, they have to because of the Bike Care Plan.
Which brings us to Monday last. Her indoors and myself had to do some shopping in Neath, so I took the back wheel off again, and put it in the car to take to the Halfords store there. I presented it to the sales assistant, who told me that the Bike Care Plan did not cover the replacement of spokes, and further, Halfords no longer stocked spokes. I complained that I had had spokes replaced in the past, under my current plan. He asked me if I wished to speak to the manager, I retorted that there was no point if no spokes were stocked, but would be contacting head office about the matter (more of that in another post, if I ever get round to it, my typing is so painfully slow). He did give me the helpful advice that Tredz in Swansea stocked spokes and could rebuild my back wheel.
So I went to Tredz, was directed to the bike mechanic section, gave my back wheel to the mechanic, who then measured the size of spoke required, and then went off to the stores to get me two. While he was in the stores I checked out the price list for replacing my broken spoke, ahem £27.50, no way I thought. The mechanic returned with two spokes, he asked me if I wanted to leave the wheel for him to install the spoke, I said no thanks, and he said, “so you’re happy to true the wheel yourself?” (extra cost £15.00) I said I would give it a go myself, paid £1.98 for the brace of spokes and left.
Next day I was up early at 06.00, it was too dark to try to do this mechanical work in my open air workshop, so I got on the internet, and had a look at a couple of videos on the removal and replacement of a cassette. That made me a little more confident, and I knew I had the correct tools in my tool kit. When it was light enough, about 07.30 I set out into the breech. The weather was damp, with a real threat of rain. Why oh why hadn’t I got that spare shed, I’ve got in storage, up and available to use as my workshop?
So I got down to it, some serious (for me) mechanical repairing. I removed the back wheel, tyre, inner tube, then came the (gulp) hard part, removing the cassette, so that I could get at and remove that tinking thing, the spoke end. I got my chain whip in position, along with my lock ring removal piece, and after several heaves was able to unscrew it, and remove the cassette in one piece. It was simple then to remove that little tinker of a tinking thing. I put in my new spoke, remembering to cross over or under adjacent spokes to match up with the rest of the wheel, and “Bob’s your uncle!”
I went on to “true” my wheel, no great shakes, because the wheel hadn’t deformed really, just a matter of tightening up the new spoke with my new spoke wrench. Back on with the cassette, tightened up the lock ring, back on with tube and tyre, back into the frame, pump up the tyre……..Doah!!! FLAT TYRE!!!
I must have caught the tube with a tyre lever, “$%^&”!
So it was off with the wheel, off with the tyre, out with the old tube (I wasn’t going to search for the puncture, saving that for another mechanical moment) and in with a new one, tyre back on the wheel, wheel back in the frame, tyre pumped up……SUCCESS! Then out up and down the street for a test ride AOK, except gears are still not changing properly, it’s an old ongoing problem, another job for a mechanical moment.
In total, all these mechanical shenanigans took me the best part of two hours, but boy did I feel good at having done it all myself, plus, my tool kit got it’s maiden voyage.
That evening I wrote complaining to Halfords about the failure to live up to its Bike Care Plan.
Cheers for now.