Back in January I had spotted a garage sale in Paraparaumu. There were two bicycles. I got up early at the airbnb and walked to the sale at the Kāpiti Collective early Saturday morning and saw that there was a $20 bicycle and a $200 bicycle. Since we were only planning to stay until May (ha), the $200 bike would be more than I needed. The seller talked himself down to $15 and said he’d been through a lot with the bicycle. After finding some air from a passing cyclist, I rode it back to the train station via the airport (PPQ; ah, airports.) I noticed that the wheels were, in addition to being flat, significantly off true. Surely I could fix that.
I locked up the bike at the train station, took the bus back to Jens’s place for lunch, and then took the train back to Wellington.
Trying to fix the bike
The very next day I went to Bike Space and tried to true the front wheel. My efforts were thwarted by two broken spokes. After a tour of the city’s bike shops, I managed to get replacement spokes and ended up with a serviceable front wheel.
The rear wheel was another story. Couldn’t do it. Too bent. It’s actually out of true in a number of dimensions.
On the way back I got pulled over and warned for riding a bike without a helmet. (I think mandatory helmet laws are bad policy, but I wasn’t going to have a chat with the police officer about that). He said he would send a written warning but never did.
More bike fixing
I put up with the bike being semi-broken for a few months. In July I finally got around to going to the Mechanical Tempest and replaced the rear shifter. Being able to shift is useful when my usual bike ride includes the climb up the hill to Kelburn, up to 156m of elevation gain (depending on where I was living). Bike time improved from 30+ minutes to 22 minutes.
Then in September I went and inflated the tires. Somehow that seemed to aggravate the out-of-trueness. I went back and tried to find another wheel, but this was a mountain bike with 700C x 45 tyres, and the only wheel that Mechanical Tempest had was even worse than what I had already. That was not a useful 2 hours.
I tried to buy another wheel but lost a TradeMe (i.e. NZ eBay) auction. I can’t imagine that new wheels would have been economical. It’s hard to buy things in NZ.
So instead, I bought a new bike in Plimmerton and rode it back home. While walking to the seller’s place I noticed that his neighbour had a bunch of bicycles and a motorcycle, so I figured (correctly) that he would have a bike pump.
Riding from Plimmerton to Porirua is nice. Enjoyed a bacon toastie in Plimmerton after deciding to bike home rather than taking the train. Porirua to Wellington not so much, especially riding on the sidewalk, um, multi-use trail on SH1. Avoided the rain.
Now I have a bike that doesn’t eat half of my pedalling power and I can actually catch up to others.
Resources in Kitchener/Waterloo
For those of you reading along in Kitchener/Waterloo, let me shout out to: