I Hate Being Incompetent At Things

So I managed to screw something up on my new bike after just one ride! But – DON’T PANIC! – because it was just a little screw up that was easily repaired (by someone who actually knew what they were doing).

The screw up happened when I tried to figure out how to use my new pump. After my first little ride yesterday, I decided that my front tire felt like it wasn’t inflated enough, so I tried to check out what the tire pressure was with the fancy tire pressure gauge on my new pump. But no matter what I did, I could not get the pump to give me a pressure reading. I Googled, I watched YouTube videos on tire inflation, but nothing seemed to help. Instead, through all my fiddling, I managed to *completely* deflate my tire. Gah! I hate being incompetent at things!

At this point, I admitted defeat and decided to take it in for some professional help. Google Maps informed me that there is a bike shop located very close to my office1, so I brought my tire in on my lunch break. Now, I’m totally going to give a plug to this store – Rocky Cycle – because the guys there were super friendly and helpful, fixing my tire and sorting out what was wrong with my bicycle pump, all without making me feel like I was an idiot. As it turns out, the bicycle pump has various little components inside that need to flipped around different ways depending on the type of valve you have. I *thought* I had it right, but I didn’t, and that’s why the pump wouldn’t lock onto the valve, meaning that I couldn’t get a pressure reading. In my defence, these are the “instructions” that came with my pump:

worst instructions ever

That’s it. No words, just that ridiculous drawing. Use your words, bicycle pump manufacturer, use your words!!

Anyway, my pump is now assembled correctly, my tire is inflated, and my bike rides like a dream!

  1. Given that I bought my bike in Vancouver, I didn’t really want to have to take it all the way there for a fix []

5 Replies to “I Hate Being Incompetent At Things”

  1. I assume you have the Schrader variety of valve? But I agree, the “instructions” beg for a little more.

    I have two pumps – one that attaches to my bike and is designed specifically for the Presta valve (so no worries on how to use it), and the other which is a stay-at-home pump that is easier to use when I’m just doing the at-home pump fill up. The stay-at-home pump is designed to work on both valve varieties. It’s default setting is for the Schrader valve, but to make it Presta ready, one only needs to screw an adaptor onto the wheel. Nice and simple – the way I like it.

  2. I actually have Presta values and I managed to figure out the basics of Presta valves (thank you Google!), but I didn’t get the bits inside the pump flipped around the right way. It’s all good now, so hopefully I won’t have any more deflation issues!

  3. When I was training for my big ride last year I decided I needed a fancy new saddle (good idea), and that I should put it on just before a big training ride (bad idea). I just couldn’t get the angle right – I was either tilting way back or way forward – and all the websites and YouTube videos in the world weren’t helping. I was almost in tears after an hour, thinking I wouldn’t get my much-needed ride that day because now the old saddle wouldn’t fit right either, so I decided to ride (standing up) to a bike shop on Main. The guy there took one look at it, whacked the saddle-holding bracket with a hammer, and the saddle went on straight, first time. Apparently it’s a known problem, but no-one ever includes “if it won’t work, whack it with a hammer” in official instructions!

  4. “If it won’t work, whack it with a hammer” should really be included in all official instructions for anything. Your bike saddle: “If it won’t work, whack it with a hammer.” Your computer: “If it won’t work, whack it with a hammer.” Your employees: “If they don’t work, whack them with a hammer!”

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