Wednesday, 19 February 2014

"I have a very flat tyre,"

I told the Senior Cat after returning from a visit to one of the aged care places.
Fortunately for me (if it had to happen) it happened within a few hundred metres of our front gate. I managed, with considerable difficulty, to wheel it that far.
The Senior Cat went to investigate and then said, "I think you need a new tyre as well."
I was thinking the same thing myself. It's the "driving" wheel on the tricycle and it tends to wear out more quickly.
I suppose I have been fortunate. I have not had too many punctures. I carry a spare tube with me but not the kit to change the tube. I have always considered there is not much point as I could not actually change the tube myself. I know how to do it but my paws are not strong enough to remove and replace the tyre.
Yesterday's experience made me realise that it is time we seriously considered what the alternatives are to the Senior Cat doing the repairs. A friend of his did them until late last year and then he moved away.
Before that I used to be able to go to the local bike shop. The man who ran it when I first returned to this district was very good. He would drop everything else and fix something for me. I tried not to take advantage of this but there were a couple of emergencies. If it could wait I would tell him and he would put the tricycle in the queue with everything else. If I had to do an interpreter stint at the hospital in the afternoon he would fix the problem immediately. The new owners are much less cooperative. They would actually prefer not to work on it at all. Their interest is more in racing bikes than repairing them.
I know my brother-in-law would do something once he was home.  He would be willing to do it too - but it does not solve the problem of what to do if I have a flat tyre in a location which is not within walking distance of home - or a train to get me to within walking distance of home - especially at times when bicycle repair places are not open and willing to help.
There is a new family around the corner. They have moved into the house vacated by the retired maths lecturer. There is a van parked there which says something about "bicycle-fix" and a mobile number. I think I need to investigate this and find out just what this person is prepared to do - and when.
In the meantime the Senior Cat will head off on his gopher and buy a new tyre and yet another spare tube. He will, no doubt, spend most of the morning doing this, visiting the chemist and the bank, and replacing tube and tyre for me. It bothers me. He should not have to take the responsibility for keeping me on my pedals.
It is time we had a Bicycle Association the way they have Automobile Associations of various types. Being able to pay an annual fee to phone them and say, "I need some help please" would do a lot for the peace of mind of cyclists.
It might even make more people ride bikes.

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