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Tuesday, 6 July 2010

How to change a bicycle Rear Wheel; Number one in a Series of Simple "How to's". Sponsored by Calli, Tosh, Lilly, Hannibal, Diego and Several Brians

Many of us like to go cycling, especially in the summer. The joy of the wind in the hair, the clasp of tight lycra round the speculative organs and the knowledge that unless you've just eaten Mazzer and Burt's famous "Drunken Pineapple Chicken", your journey will be totally emission free. However, your carefree days of cycling can be endangered by some common problems. Possibly the worst of these is an attempted murder by a lunatic hit and run driver. If this should happen to you, resulting in stress breaks to the rear wheel spokes, dont just swap out the good back wheel for a crappy olod one you happen to have lying around, leaving the good one to fester under a pile of insulation in your unfinished loft for 2 years. No, act promptly - fixin' up that old back wheel is easier than you think. Here's how:

Step 1: Find said back wheel under boxes when inexplicably searching for favourite Halloween costume in middle of summer, preferably when you are supposed to be making a new fireplace.

Step 2: Identify problem with wheel.

Step 3: Search internet for possible solutions. You may be tempted at this point to spend over $15,000 on a new wheel but as you have already committed £500 of your family fortune to buying shares in Liverpool Football Club (without telling your partner) as part of a fan-based syndicate you decide that the easy to follow instructions on how to change the wheel are easy. Especially as you are, allegedly, "handy".

Step 4: Rush out, and buy new wheel anyway because you discover that it takes weeks to get the parts - hub, gears etc whereas you can buy a complete pre-assembled wheel locally, for cheaper. Your plan is to strip the new wheel of the parts you need, and replace the old worn parts on your original wheel with these new parts. It is a brilliant plan.

Step 5: Discover, on re-reading the various internet guides, that you have none of the correct tools. decide to improvise. (Note: Its actually day six of your repair by now).

Step 6: Start improvising. Results are oil on best hiking pants, 2 scared cats, big grooves in the grass where the wheel has spun out of control as you try to unscrew the hub, and a suspected broken finger from hammer impacts. You are at "step one" of the internet "how to". The gear cassette remains attached to the wheel.

Step 7: Go out and buy most of the correct tools for the job.

Step 8: Realise NOT buying a bench mounted vise was mistake. Consider building garden shed in order to house vise. Check "bike repair" budget.

Step 9: Fix garden pomd while having "a bit of a think".

Step 10: Take newly bought wheel, old wheel and half-ruined tools to bike shop. Pretend nephew is cack-handed and a bit daft. Nice man agrees to fix "your" wheel. Maintain pretence that wheel is "nephew's".

I hope the guide helps. Next week's guide is "How to Make Raffia Garden Chairs using only materials from your own garden". Should be lots of fun, and be careful to read up on the fact sheet "Drying garden cuttings in the toilet" before starting this project, as you il need a good supply of raffia substitute for the project.

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