Tuesday, June 4, 2013

What I learned today

Alternate title ... continued bike maintenance for those of us of the girlie persuasion.

Since I got a trainer I've had a trainer tire. I ride on the trainer twice a week. Once in my garage and once at a local store where I borrow / ride on a computrainer to get ready for Ironman France.

I have never really had any issues with my trainer at home. But I have had issues with the Computrainer set up. These are not due to the Computrainer in fact I think that they are due to my inexperience and the ineptitude of the guy who lets me use his Computrainer.

The Computrainer uses a computer to increase the pressure related to the course you're riding. Because of this it's great. I am a beleiver I really am. But if you are using a computrainer I think you have to really understand it and also be a little bit of a technician.

When I started training for France I looked all over for a place to ride a Computrainer. Now that I'm done a center has opened on Key Biscayne. I can't believe my luck :-)

But I was very lucky that I found right next to my house a trainer who trains me on his Computrainer. He's nice and I think he's a good trainer. But he isn't a mechanic and he's not terribly technical. We've had a few issues over these 15 weeks. A few times he wasn't sure how the software was malfunctioning which is annoying. Last week he overfilled my trainer tire and it flatted on the computrainer. It took us 10 minutes to figure it out and to be honest it was me who said - could my tire be flat?

Anywhoo. I pay him through the nose. I mean it is ridiculously expensive because he charges like a personal trainer. I don't actually recommend it but I didn't have a choice and it has the benefit that I've gotten private training which is great.

Today was a new adventure and this one is my fault although I think that a more experienced Computrainer person would have figured out something was wrong way before all this happened. But I caused it.

I changed my tire before I went and actually I changed the skewer to a metal skewer which is best on the trainers. My trainer tire skewer bizarrely has one end that is plastic and it's gotten fairly chewed up. As long as I've been doing this I've always wondered if it mattered the direction of these little springs that are on the skewer. Today I learned oh boy does it matter it matters a lot.
turns out it's important that the spring has the big part pointing out on each end.

Right from the get go I was saying. This feels off. The resistance seems too much. But the trainer was saying maybe I was tired or whatever. And he also mentioned that maybe he had tightened the wheel too much. I'll admit this bugs me. He is supposed to calibrate at the start of each of our sessions but he's too lazy to do it. But whatever. I figured that if the workout was harder it was to my benefit.

Then we started to get a squeaking noise. So I spoke up. I said, "listen that's not normal, can we check the tire?'

So we did. It was a little low and so he put in more air. I actually felt the tire and it was hot to the touch. I told him something is wrong the tire shouldn't get this hot I don't think. He guessed it was too tight on the back so he loosened it. (Can you say calibration?)

We were almost done with the session now. Maybe 10 minutes left. Then when I started back up. He saw dust coming off the tire. He said ... wow there is a problem with the tire. So we went on a few minutes and he said let's stop. He thought it was that the tire was old which could have been but I thought ... something else is going on too. So I went and asked the mechanic to help me figure it out.

all that black stuff on the ground is parts of my tire just shredded into rubber dust. It was everywhere. Not good.
The mechanic saw the issue immediately. When I had changed the tire I had put the skewer together with one of the springs going the wrong way. That let the tire rub on directly on the bike and the result was this. I'm really hoping I didn't damage the bike. I am a little concerned with all the rubbing and the heat from the hot tire - although the mechanic didn't see any damage. Replacing the trainer tire I can live with.
The mechanic thought the tire would still be good but it popped on the way home. It's hard to see but there is a massive hole in the side of the tire.

I'm not much of a ranter but I will admit this does annoy me that the trainer guy didn't figure out what the problem was earlier in the trainer session. I will admit that on my trip to DogHouse I did notice that the did check my tire and skewer before starting. The didn't remove the skewer just checked that it was metal.

The tire actually popped on the way home which is good because I might have had a heart attack from the noise if it had happened while I was on top of the bike.

In the end - lesson learned. I have one more session maybe two with this guy. I might not do them - I'm not sure. I'll swing by the place on Key Biscayne if I have time because that might be a better fit. On the other hand I'm sort of in deep with this guy. So we'll see.

On the upside it's more practice changing tires for me which can't hurt.


  1. Interesting story. I'll have to remember the spring thing.

    Sorry to hear the trainer isnt tje brightest bulb. Thankfully you're a smart and assertive lady.

    1. Thanks ... It's definitely my own job to take care of my own bike so it's good that I'm learning this now :-)