Thursday, 28 August 2008

Building Bicycle Wheels, Robert Wright (1977)

Macmillan 0-02-028260-5 46pp £3.95

This slender volume does exactly what it promises on the cover – provides enough information to allow you to build you own wheels.

Like so many, complicated technical processes, this was one that I fancied mastering. Indeed, I imagined that, once I had acquired the knack, I would build any number of clever variations on the simple bicycle wheel.

Wright’s instructions are clear and easy to follow. And he goes a good way towards explaining how wheels work, and the possible variations on the regular patterns. Notwithstanding the ease with which the author presents the instructions, though, the spokes that I tried to deploy were infuriating.

I did eventually manage to knit them together, and tighten them into reasonably true wheels. The end results even managed a decade’s service on my daily rides. That was more than 20 years ago, however. But in fairness, I don’t think my failure to repeat the exercise can be laid at Wright’s door.

PS August 2008

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