Saturday, 8 May 2010

Real men don't read instructions

My old bike had schrader valves, and the new bike has presta valves. I've known this for the last few weeks, without really thinking about it. Tomorrow though, I'm setting off on a week's cycling trip, and it occurred to me that I had never tried to pump up a tyre with a presta valve. Sod's law says that a puncture always happens at the worst possible time, and I thought it would be better to have a trial run in the back garden, on a dry afternoon, rather than on a remote road in the dark and rain.

I already knew that I would have to release the little lock nut on the valve, and I knew that my floor pump has a dual head that fits both types of valve. So far so good - all that worked fine. Then I tried using the little frame pump that I take with me on the bike, and discovered that the head only fitted a schrader valve.

I've been riding around for weeks carrying a pump that doesn't fit, which is pretty dumb. Not only dumb, but arrogant as well. I tend to suffer from the attitude that real men don't need the instructions. Like lifeboats on the Titanic, instructions are intended for women and children first. So when I fitted the pump to the bike I had just unwrapped it, bolted it on and thrown the packaging away without looking at it.

Thank goodness for the internet. The solution is far from obvious, but eventually I found the answer. It turns out that if you unscrew the head of the pump, you can squeeze out a rubber plug, and remove a little plastic gizmo that sits underneath it. You then flip both the other way round, and reassemble it all.

To much relief it now works fine. I hope I don't get a puncture next week, but if I do I will be able to ignore how dumb I can be, and congratulate myself on my foresight. Particularly if it happens in the cold and dark and wet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

They make a screw-on adapter for presta stem that makes it into schraeder