After a two-week break from cycling, I was back on the saddle again yesterday morning with the usual group. For the first time ever, I started out from my Sinar Bukit house (I moved from Iramanis 3 weeks ago). So yesterday was a kind of a new beginning. But then again, as a whole, I haven't had too much experience on my road bike. I haven't even been out 10 times yet, so there is obviously a lot more to learn still.
Yesterday was also a special outing in that Claire—she had recently relocated back from Singapore to KK—was finally able to join us for the very first time, after several weeks of email exchanges on the subject. But because she had just arrived in KK about a week ago, I suppose she must have been busy running errands to get herself settled down. So she was not in time to buy her bike accessories for yesterday's outing. And because her bike has been idle for a good 6 months or so, both her tires were flat. So she had to come round to my Sinar Bukit house at around 5:30am yesterday morning to use my floor pump to inflate her tires. To those who're not familiar with road bikes, you might want to know that the pumps at the petrol stations are not good enough for road bikes. It's because you will need up to 110psi-120psi for the bikes, whereas for an average sedan car, you'd need something like 30psi only, give and take.
Well, both her tires were still OK and we successfully pumped them to the correct pressure. She then drove to the Sabah Trade Centre (STC) where she would park her car and then start from there. I on the other hand started from my home, but it was just a 5-minute ride to the STC.
Claire and I were the last in the group, and by the time we reached the Indah Permai traffic lights, the rest were nowhere to be seen. I was aware, however, that they're heading to the Mengkabong roundabout.
I was perhaps half a kilometre ahead of Claire, but when I was approaching KKIP, my phone rang. I was not in time to answer it, but shortly after that I received a text message. Checking out the calls, I realised that it was from Claire. She said that she had a puncture in her front wheel and told me to go ahead. I didn't think it's such a good idea to leave a young woman alone along that road, so I turned back to see what I could do.
I happened to have a spare tube and a hand pump with me. But actually, I've never ever changed a tube in my entire life before! I tried pumping the tire for a while, but it didn't take very long for us to realise that we had to change the tube. So there we were between Claire and I, we detached the front wheel and the blind started leading the blind.
First, I took out the existing tube, which was in itself quite a feat. Then I struggled for something like 15 minutes or so to try to insert my spare tube into the tire, but it just seemed impossible! I'm not sure how long I spent struggling with the wheel before it dawned on me that I needed to get half of the tire out of the rim in order to get the tube into it. Claire was mainly watching me in action, throwing in a bit of ideas every now and then.
Well, finally I was able to get the tube into the tire, after which I put the entire tire back onto the rim. But then that small protruding part which stuck out from inside the rim; y'know, that part where you attach to the pump, was too short. I wasn't sure what that thing was called, and for the life of me, I just couldn't find the correct term. I thought of "nozzle", but that word didn't seem right somehow. In the end, of all the words that came to me, I finally decided on the word "nipple".
OK, "nipple" it is then—fine, we progress!
Well, anyway, the nipple of the spare tube was comparatively shorter than the original one on Claire's wheel. Obviously, I bought a wrong type for my spare. So even if I could figure out how to change the tube, it was still the wrong type. Explaining to Claire the problem with the nipple, I tried to pull it through that tiny hole anyway until I realised that it got stuck. I then tried to dislodge it but failed. I think it was probably more than half an hour later when I finally gave up on the task.
Just as I was contemplating what else to do, I saw Teo, Amelia and Paul riding back from the other side of the road in true triathlete fashion. I took my bike and rush to the other side of the road, and then did the Lance Armstrong thing to catch up with them. Luckily there had to stop at the red light. We turned back together and found Robert and the rest helping Claire to fix her tube. It took them probably only 5 minutes to get it done!
Later that morning, Claire visited the bicycle shop to buy her bike accessories. And of course she bought a spare tube too. Then suddenly I thought it might be a good idea to remind her about the short and long nipples. So I texted her:
"... 4got 2 tel u dat my useless tube i bought fr spring. They sold me wrong type. Nipple too short! 4got 2 tel u 2 make sure nipple long like yours"
After sending the text message, I somehow read it once again and was horrified by what I said! So I sent Claire another text message:
"Hahaha! Salah bah! I meant nipple like d one in your back tire! Not on your chest! Hahaha! D ones on d chest better keep em short!"
Oh what an adventure. I learned so much in a single morning. And by the way, I have since searched the net and now know the nipple is actually simply known as the valve!