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Saturday 31 January 2015

Crying, Trapping Fingers and De-Eyeballing Self: Setting up your Turbo Trainer

How to set up the perfect turbo trainer for a road bike.
  • Unpack box. Look at everything for a few moments to check is packed properly. 
  • Unpack box and lay out separate bags.  
  • Use scissors to carefully open bags and lay parts out on top of bags so I can see everything and check items off from part list with special ticking-parts-off-part-list-pen.
  • Start assembling parts carefully. Double-checking each item. Successfully put turbo together with all correct components and it DOESN’T FALL APART.
  • Decide am like super engineer. Just call me Isambard.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel - Super Engineer

  • Get all smug and decide to put new saddle on bike too so have comfy bottom for turbo training session. 
  • Look at old saddle and decide that I will need an allen key to undo bolts. Have EXACT allen key in special bike tool kit. Am definitely Good at Engineering.
  • Use allen key to undo saddle. Bolts promptly fall off and washer disappears never to be seen again.
  • Move all furniture and lie on floor trying to find washer. 
  • Decide washer is mainly for show anyway. And may not actually have been on bolt to begin with. 
  • Remove saddle like a pro. (Lifts off saddle).
  • Unable to remove new saddle from packaging. Try to gently lift new saddle off of cardboard backing. Cannot remove saddle. 
  • Attack packaging with nails. Does not work and am in danger of ruining nails further. Use scissors to hack apart cardboard packaging to finally remove new  saddle.
  • Realise I don’t have measurements to put new saddle back into correct position of old one.
  • Attempt to sit on saddle to check height and fall off as it isn’t done up. Check no-one saw. No-one saw.
  • Position saddle randomly between ‘stop’ measurements and put bolts back in with allen key.
  • Saddle is slightly wonky as no washer. Decided this is probably how it is supposed to look.
  • Job well done.

Frank Whittle - Jet Engine Inventor
  • Next job is to attach cadence sensor to bike so I can tell how fast I’m pedalling and how far without having to count or actually go outside. Sounds like magical unicorn cycling. 
  • Look at sensor instructions. They tell me to fit Bit A without telling me what Bit A is. There is no part list.
  • Instructions are talking about parts of the bike I’ve never heard of. Stupid instructions. Suspect instructions are making words up to confuse me.  
  • They tell me to attach *madeup word* to the bike ... but without telling me where on the part of the bike. Resist urge to tear instructions into confetti and sprinkle around room and stamp on them. 
  •  Am organised and calm. I can do this. 
  • And why are there are only 2 bits ... I’m sure there are meant to be 3. Oh. They’re all stuck together. This bit has to ... might go ... there? 
  • Is like a 3D jigsaw puzzle without a picture. Or a clue as to the shape. Is this a TRICK?
  • Attach part to bike with cable ties.
  • Cut part off bike with scissors. Stupid instructions. 
  • Moment of epiphany: There really IS a YouTube video for everything! 
  • Attach parts to bike. 
  • Parts fall off bike. Attach tighter. Bits stay on. But wibble a bit. Ignore wibble.
  • Am technology guru.
  • Get watch to pair with sensor. It works. It totally works. 
  • Am definitely technology guru.

DeLorean DMC-12
  • Decide am doing so well, I will set up bike specs on watch for super-dooper accurate information. 
  • Weight of bike. Am I allowed to ask a lady bike that? 
  • Decide to use power of the internet. Log onto bike website (which is inexplicably hard to find) to find out they won’t tell you the weight of the bike as “we want you to try it.” You utter bastards. Weight of bike appears to be unavailable anywhere on entire internet. 
  • Sigh.
  • Moment of epiphany. Get bathroom scales, weigh self then weigh again while holding bike. 
  • Would have been smug at ‘thinking outside box’ if I hadn’t noticed that 6lb of Xmas pudding and Quality Street appears to attached itself to body. Huff. Knew there was a reason I’d been avoiding scales.
  • Wheel size. Huh? Well it says 700 on the tyres. I’ll just put 1400 in. That should be ok, right? Odometer. Huh? *Googles odometer*. *Leaves ‘odometer blank* 
  • Sorted. 

Sony BetaMax
  • I’ve set up turbo, put saddle on, attached and calibrated cadence sensor and set up bike specs. Am obviously amazing and this and destined to become a turbo trainer hero. *Starts mentally designing superhero costume and cape*
  • So all I need to do now is put the red training tyre on the bike and I’m good to go! 
  • ... Seriously. Do they superglue these things on??
  • *Open YouTube* 
  • Use tyre tool and manage to wedge it under the edge of the tyre. Tyre isn’t coming off. Attack tyre in different place with 2nd tool like man on YouTube who removes tyre with ease.
  • *Swear at YouTube* It ISN’T that easy!
  • Stupid man. Stupid YouTube.
  • Catch fingers. Cries.
  • *Tyre tool pings off*
  • *Nearly lose eyeball to tyre tool*
  • Start swearing.
  • Swearing helps and I get first edge of tyre out of rim. It’s called a bead apparently. (Get me. Am all technical and stuff) 
  • So the inner tube. Does that stay on or do I take it off with tyre and then put it back on with turbo tyre? 
  • Take inner tube out. Get confused. Poke it back in again. 
  • Bizarrely road tyre then comes off easily like a magic trick. 
  • Remove turbo tyre from box. It’s flat. It’s red. It's like an anorexic salami. THIS is supposed to go on the wheel?
  • So this turbo tyre. Why's it flat? How do I get it on? Do I just lie it on the tube? Attempt to bend tyre into tyre shape. Start poking tyre-shape tyre over inner tube and moving along rim ... as I do this it’s coming out the other side. Notice this after circling tyre twice.
  • Use knees to hold tyre in place and crouch to keep hold of wheel. Have discovered new yoga pose. It’s called Upward Tyre. Don’t think it’s going to catch on.
  • But it’s working. Finally have 90% of tyre on rim of wheel.
  • However hit a snag. There is NO WAY the rest of this tyre is going on.
  • Check box. Yep right size.
  • Look at tyre. Look at wheel.
  • It’s like Lola Ferrari trying to put on my bra. It’s never going to happen.

Lola Ferrari
  • Try to push on tyre quickly to catch wheel off guard. It’s not fooled.
  • Attack with all tyre levering tools. Tyre attacks back  and pings tools back at me. 
  • Catch fingers in tyre again.
  • Sit down in huff. It’s now 11:30pm and I haven’t even started my turbo session.
  • Try and roll tyre onto wheel. It rolls back off again.
  • Eat crème egg in frustration. 
  • Huff some more.
  • Give up and call The Mr. *Silence* Call him and tell him to get out of bed even though it’s 11:45pm as am in peril from tyre attacks.
  • Grumpy The Mr comes into room and inspects wheel.
  • He tells me the tyre isn’t going to fit. Then he rolls tyre onto wheel. Like magic.
  • Embrace The Mr and he grumbles off back to bed. 
  • Pump up tyre. Flat.
  • Cry. Actually cry. 
  • Take the tyre off and start again. Repeat steps 43 – 72. Whilst sobbing. 
  • Attach pump to tyre valve. Which doesn’t work. Discover through experimentation that valve has a rolling bit to stop tube going down.
  • Discover this again after pumping tyre up and when trying to put valve cap back on tube.
  • Pump tube up again.  TYRE STAYS UP.
  • Have bike. Actually have bike. That works and has turbo tyre on. AND I have turbo trainer. Finally.
  • Take off wheel skewer so bike can be attached to turbo trainer. Spring disappears as though dropped into black hole. Lie on floor looking for spring. Get up as temptation to lie there and go to sleep overwhelming as now past midnight. 
  • As I am getting off floor spring embeds itself into knee. Remove spring from knee and put back on skewer. 
Sir Clive Sinclair - mastermind behind the Sinclair C5

  • Put bike on turbo. 
  • Bike fights back and oil from chain is distributed liberally over fingers and arms.  
  • Decide bike is just being stubborn and jam on turbo trainer. 
  • It’s on. Bike is finally on turbo trainer. Would throw streamers and blow party squeaker but just too exhausted.
  • Realise there is still another attachment: the gear shifter.
  • Look at gear shifter attachment.
  • Look at manual.
  •  4 more A4 pages to attach gear shifter.
  •  Who needs to change gears anyway. *Tosses gear shifter and massive phone book size manual into box*
  • Get on bike and start pedalling. Wheel sensor starts clinking. Adjust it. 
  • Garmin sensor now refuses to recognise pedal. Poke pedal sensor. It promptly falls out of cable tie. 
  • Swear like a sailor. Cry. Tie it back on.
  • Wheel sensor begins clinking again. Poke it. It stops working. 
  • Poke everything except pedal sensor which will fall off if I poke it.
  • Carefully adjust wheel sensor. 
  • Carefully adjust Garmin sensor and reset it until it‘s so sensitive it can detect a butterfly fart. In France. 
  • Everything working. 
  • Wheel sensor starts clinking starts again.
  • Turn music up until I can no longer hear clinking. 
  • Start turbo training session.  I will beat technology by sweating on it. 
  • Finish turbo training session.
  • Get off bike. 
  • Put on Smug Face as remember to unclip shoes.
  • Fall over as have legs of jelly. Land on sections of cable tie I cut off earlier and find missing washer as it imbeds itself in arse. 
  • Lie on carpet relishing opportunity to lie down and do nothing. 


  1. Fabulous write up on Bike+Turbo trainer+Gremlins. So true!! Had me giggling all the way through. Thank you ;-)

    1. It was quite possibly the most frustrating thing I've EVER had to do. And I'm including 'giving the cat a tablet' in that.

  2. You are f-ing hilarious. Also love the new blog design!

    1. It was horrendous. And having to actually do the turbo session after that. I'm feeling quite tired just thinking about it ...