Thursday, March 11, 2010

The importance of a strong currency

Cycling to work as usual, bright sunny morning, and...thump thump bang whizz. The back tyre had split. I try to check the tyres for wear reasonably regularly but perhaps had not looked closely enough last time, as it was pretty thin all over. Of course we were equidistant from home and work, so it would be a long way to walk. Still, it's not that big a deal to fix, assuming the repair-kit is complete. Oops. We carry a bit of tyvek (cut from an envelope) to wrap round the tube in the event of a split tyre casing. Tyvek is incredibly tough, yet thin, and this has saved us on several past occasions including a holiday which we completed (gently) with no further problems. But somehow the square of tyvek had become separated from the repair kit (it later turned up in the other repair kit, an occupational hazard of having multiple bikes). What to do now?

The canonical emergency repair in this situation is the trusty dollar bill. Being in Japan, where dollar bills are a bit thin on the ground, we thought the nearest equivalent should work - in fact, a ¥1000 note should be about 11 times as good. But it felt a bit feeble. So instead of continuing to work, with the prospect of the return journey in the dark, we returned in the direction of home to do a proper repair.

Just as well. We had managed most of the distance when the thump thump started up again. A quick stop and deflation saved the tube (which was poking out of the hole), but we still had a 20 minute walk home. Lucky it was sunny.

When I took the wheel apart, I found that the note had ripped right across twice, and it is also split where it covered the casing hole. I hope it's not treasonable to deface banknotes here...

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