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Change your tires

Get your hands dirty (informal)
to involve yourself in all parts of a job, including the parts that are unpleasant, or involve hard, practical work Unlike other bosses, he's not afraid to get his hands dirty and the men like that in him

Idioms by The Free Dictionary

This week I'm replacing the tubes in my bike tires. Which shouldn't really be a big thing but kind of is. I've always just asked my husband Emrys to deal with this kind of stuff. But my bike has been languishing on the deck with flats for a few months now and it's time; and there's no reason I can't do this. Luckily my mother in law Elena is in town and willing to teach me how to change my tires.

The first step is to figure out my tire size, which shows on the side of my tire, and is: 700 x 35-43C. Apparently 700 is how big around the tube/wheel is and the 35-43C is the width range. Next we're off to Mountain Equipment Co-op to buy the replacement tubes.

My bike on the seawall

Back at the house, we easily remove the front wheel from the bike with a flip of the quick release; while the back wheel is just a bit more difficult to get off, with the chain to work around. Tires, tubes and tire levers in hand we head down to our basement, as our deck is too small for this repair job and it looks like it might be too messy a job for the living room.

In the basement, outside the laundry room, we set the tires down and I watch as Elena expertly slips the flat end of the tire lever under the bead and hooks the other end on to an adjacent spoke, working her way around the tire, easing it off the rim. Next we pull out the dead tube, slightly inflate the new tube, stuff it into the tire and then use the lever to push the tube filled tire back on to the rim. One tire down, one to go!

I take on tire number two myself, (not so expertly) using the lever to get the tire off, remove the old tube, push the new tube into the tire starting at the valve hole and then use the lever to push it all back on to the rim.

We tidy up and bring the tires back upstairs and put them back on my bike. The front tire slips on easily and clips into place. The back wheel is finicky and takes a little fiddling to reattach the chain but eventually clips into place. A little air from the hand pump and my bike is ready to head to the gas station air pump for a proper fill.

My tires are done! Hands sore and covered in chain grease, I have to say that I feel pretty awesome about changing my own tires!

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