I’ve always had a bit of a mental block when it came to bikes, and radios. One of those things where you say to yourself “No, I will do that wrong, for I do not have that talent”, and while with radios this is not too hard – every six months I would turn an analogue radio on and twiddle the knobs to different frequencies, quietly and desperately wishing that the numbers available online corresponded to the channels that they promised in real life – with bicycles I always had the memory in the back of my head when my brother looked over my attempt at bike repair, shook his head and said “This is a deathtrap.”.
(If you love bicycles, you should follow Anna Railton’s Something About Rowing blog, which has turned into Something About Cycling over the past few years.)
So this is going to sound slightly pathetic to most of you, I expect: this week I successfully changed a (rear!) wheel (on a folding bike!). It took me about four goes, and I eventually replaced the outer tyre as well because of intense wear and tear (some from age, and some from me using very sharp tyre levers for my first few attempts) and even the rim tape because the last puncture had no obvious cause at all. But the tyre is now on and has good pressure, I have cycled a little way on it, and the rear brake I released and then re-tightened is working.
Best of all: I am no longer mildly nervous about changing inner tubes, and now I can cycle partway to work!
Take that, nagging self-doubt!