Removable valve stem??


I guess you have heard of a removable valve core, but what about an entire stem?

I recently added another abandoned bike to the workshop and while tending to the flat tire I noticed the inner tube held air, but that the valve stem came out of the inner tube if fiddled with (with an explosive release of tyre pressure too!).

While I assume this is a fault in the inner tube, on closer inspection, it doesn’t look like anything has torn or failed. The inner tube has two rubber joints, the second of which seems to hold the stem base. The upper seems just to hold it straight.

I have replaced the inner tube with a new one from Schwalbe, but can a removable valve stem really be a thing? Never seen this before.







Bike sharing in China

Similar to my post on bike sharing in China from a couple of weeks back, here’s one better researched, and better written, from The Guardian:

Bike-sharing revolution aims to put China back on two wheels

Clearly I was very lucky to be there under blue skies!

An amazing way to get rid of rust!

Not really accessible to the home mechanic though… =)

Happy New Year everyone!


Happy New Year readers.

I hope you have some great down time with family and friends over the holiday season and wish you all a happy, healthy and active 2017!

Beijing, China

Last week I took a trip to Beijing, the capital city of China. As you probably know, China is the most populous country in the world, by far, with a registered population of almost 1.4 billion. That is roughly equivalent to the population of Europe, North, Central and South America combined, in a single country…

While China is huge (third largest geographical area in the world after Russia and Canada), much of this population is concentrated into urban areas. You may not know there are 144 cities with an urban population over 1 million people. Which may seem hard to believe. If you take metropolitan or administrative area into account, this number is significantly higher.

Needless to say, stats like these indicate major challenges for urban planning, and with government policy focussed on economic growth, it is safe to say some other policy areas are deprioritised.

Beijing, has a registered urban population of c.21.5 million people, and some pretty infamous pollution. I had the opportunity to experience this first hand last week, and can confirm it is considerably worse than any other city I have visited. To have to breathe that toxic air daily must be incredibly harmful and I dread to think of the effects on young children.


The following picture clearly shows the polluted air visible from the plane I arrived on.


You may recall seeing photos until the mid 80s of hundreds of thousands of bicycles being used as a principal means of urban transport. Since the 1980s, with the growth of the economy, the bicycle has been actively displaced by cars, which now clog the streets and contribute to the pollution.



It seems bicycles are making a (small) comeback. Electric bicycles are popular in Chinese cities (often on pavements, at night and with the lights turned off), but it seems the public rentable bicycle is also making an appearance.

Personally, I wouldn’t feel comfortable riding in horrendous traffic, breathing toxic air, but apparently some people do. I saw quite a few of these bikes in downtown Beijing, one of which had a pretty interesting tyre design.

The tyre is solid rubber, but has holes drilled through it. Presumably this decreases production cost, avoids maintaining inner tubes, provides some cushioning and decreases rotational weight. I always enjoy a simple, low tech solution, and this is pretty clever.

While this can have only the most minimal effect on the country’s pollution, it’s a step in the right direction. But it would be a long path back to the mass bicycle use of yesteryear!


Something special in the workshop!

A new arrival in the workshop today (yes, it is easier to start projects than finish them…). something really quite special indeed.

I’ve always fancied a tandem. Not really sure why. They’re heavy, large, unusable without a trained partner, don’t fit on the car, look a bit weird. But still, they do look fun, in an eccentric sort of way.

I’ve also thought it would be cool to own a bicycle from every decade of the 1900s. Well I have managed to tick both boxes with this one.

This is a “Wonder” tandem from the mid 1930s, seemingly remarkably original and in excellent antique condition.

I have never owned a vehicle this old, nor repaired anything with this much history, so I’m going to be treating it very carefully! That said, this isn’t going to be a garage queen restoration. My intention is to use it, but keep as much original patina as possible.

Watch this space, this is going to be an interesting restoration and a very unique bike to research, fix up and ride.

Any tips more than welcome. I’m in uncharted territory with this antique =)


Love this story….

It’s a bit late for valentine’s day but I love this story…