Saturday, October 27, 2007
I have two bikes that I'm currently riding. Both are about the same age as me. Most of the time that's great, I've got bikes with history and character, and in the case of the Raleigh, really cool lugs that newer bikes don't have (unless you've got the money to go with something from Rivendell or Vanilla). I don't have that kind of money, so I went old school to get bikes with character. Sometimes, it isn't so great.
Case in point - last Wednesday on my morning commute I hit a staple and killed the rear tire on the Schwinn. No big deal. I've patched tires before. Since I don't have a pump on the Schwinn (which is dumb and will soon be remedied) I waited until I drove to work and brought the bike home to work on the tire. After patching two holes in the tube (from the staple) I tried pumping it up. It wouldn't hold air. I had been dealing with a slow leak in the tube almost since I'd gotten it, so I figured that was the problem. I resorted to the way I learned to fix tubes as a kid (fill the sink with water and look for bubbles) and was astounded by what I saw. I only ran about 25% of the tube through the water, but almost all of the section I looked at was bubbling. It looked like the seam was bad.
So how does this relate to having an older bike? The Schwinn is an old three speed, similar to the Dutch bikes which are so in vogue. Because it's old (1974, going by the date stamp on the S-A hub) the wheels are an odd size, which makes getting new tubes a little more of a challenge than normal. That, and the fact that I live in a bike-unfriendly place like Baltimore, means it will be a few days before I can get the Schwinn back on the road. That leaves either stuffing my clothes into my messenger bag and riding the Raleigh or driving.