Detail of bicycle tire from above showing the tread pattern. The turquoise fork crown can be seen in the left side of the picture. The brake cable emerges from the middle right, diagonally down to the center, where it loops and then passes vertically up nearly in the center of the image.

Getting the tire on the right way round

The forecast has been for rain all weekend, so I glumly concluded it would be a good chance for some bicycle maintenance. When I woke up this morning the forecast was improving — just a slight chance of rain in the afternoon — but when I looked out the window it was grey and misty.

I’ve been waiting for a chance to do some maintenance on Dionysus ever since I put the fat tires on. As soon as I had finished I noticed I’d put on the front tire with the tread in the opposite direction from the rear. It’s not terribly important (and I wasn’t sure at the time which was the “preferred” direction), but it’s the kind of little detail that’s going to bother me until I fix it.

I also wanted to see if I could get the brake cables working with a bit less binding, and remove some of the squishiness in the rear brake cable. Finally, the chain has been making some noise and so I wanted to have a look at that as well.

Getting the tire off wasn’t difficult at all. I put the wheel in the truing stand and gave a few tweaks. It was in good shape to start with. I didn’t have too much trouble getting the tire back on after that — and after checking twice that I was doing it in the right direction. In the process I discovered the rotation marking I’d looked in vain for during the initial tire swap — it’s rather subdued considering the bold typography on the rest of the tire. I did spend a minute fighting with the inner tube, which seemed determined to get pinched between the tire and rim. But it all came right soon enough.

After putting the front wheel back on the bike, I removed the front brake cable and gave it a thin coating of grease. It was more trouble getting the cable back on than it should have been, but it’s all good now.

Room for improvement

I didn’t have to do anything with the rear tire, but I removed the wheel from the bike anyway to have it out of the way while I worked on the brake cable. This wasn’t really necessary, but I did put the wheel in the truing stand and dial in a bit of improvement. (At this stage it’s fractions of a millimeter.)

I noticed when I installed the brakes as part of the tire swap that the cable wasn’t going smoothly into the noodle. Part of the trouble here is the Jagwire carbon silver brake housing: it looks great, but it’s very difficult to cut the woven fibres flush with the end of the cable. (It’s easy to see them sticking out the end in the before picture, above.) I wasn’t sure if I wanted a shorter cable or a longer one to smooth out the transition, or if a shorter noodle would help.

I started by cutting about 5mm from the housing, and then spending some time with a knife to trim the fibres. It all came together in the end, although it involved more than a bit of mashing the cable housing into the noodle and swearing. I also applied grease to this end of the cable, but didn’t bother with the other end.

The result feels firmer with the bike on the stand. I’ll undoubtedly ride to work at least once this week and then I’ll have a better idea if this has helped any.


View of cityscape beneath dark clouds. The area under the clouds to the left is yellow and forbidding. To the right the sky is bluer, and the cloud in the center of the image is brightly lit by the sun from above.
Stormy weather

While I was working in the Workshop in the Sky, the sky grew darker and darker. Suddenly I heard a peal of thunder, and then the rain was coming down in sheets. Nana was at the sauna, so I hoped it would blow over quickly and she wouldn’t get a drenching on the way home.

It rained about 15 minutes, just long enough for me to forward a picture to a friend who’d been asking if I was riding today and to say the weather was validating my decision to be lazy and stay home. After my work with the brakes I had a few more things to take care of: cleaning and oiling the chain (and making sure it was seated properly on the narrow-wide chainring), adjusting the derailleur and then checking the tire pressure — the rear needed some air.

I checked the sky again while I was cleaning up and putting the tools away, and it looked like things were improving. I was just being lazy — a 15-minute soaking shouldn’t stop me enjoying a nice long ride with good weather overall.

Cityscape with sun sparkling off the rooftops. The sky is very cloudy, but sunlight is piercing the cloud cover in multiple locations
Yeah, I was just being a wuss

And then the moment I sat down in front of my laptop, I saw this:

Tornado advisory for Tokyo (in Japanese) warning of risk of sudden heavy rain, strong winds and hail. There is a map below the text of the Tokyo area, with Tokyo outlined in red and Tornado Alert Information in red letters next to a tornado icon.

In addition to the tornado alert, the weather advisory warns of sudden heavy rains, strong wind and hail. (There’s also a message for farmers to be on alert for potential crop damage, but I’m not sure what they could do if the hailstones started raining down from on high.)

We haven’t had any tornadoes (yet!), but there have been two more sudden squalls as I’ve been typing this.

Turquoise bicycle with tan sidewalls backlit on balcony with glass banister. Some buildings are visible far below through the glass.
Money shot

The sun was bright enough during the money shot to make for shadows and a dark, backlit subject. Le sigh … And now the tornado warning is over and the sun is shining very brightly.

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One response to “Getting the tire on the right way round”

  1. […] last the stars aligned and I had my first ride on Dionysus since putting the front tire on the right way round. I can’t say I noticed any difference in the […]

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