A BETTER TYRE LEVER? – a nifty bike invention

Mr Bisschop’s Tyre Switch – making punctures fun.

Mevrouw T came home from the local Amsterdam market yesterday with an intriguing new device.

‘The guy there was showing how to change bike tyres. He had them on and off so easily.’

I’m not great at changing tyres. I know you’re supposed to practice, but who does? In the ‘Tacks on the Road Stage’ of the Tour de France this week, Evans and Wiggins were screaming for someone else to come and help them as soon as they got flats.

From time to time, I’ve wrestled with the three tyre-lever system, where one of the slippery little suckers always drops in the mud, one jams your finger and the third flies into your face and nearly takes out an eye.

Maybe this new TyreSwitch thingy would be easier to use.

In the official video on the website, a blonde lady effortlessly removes and replaces a tyre without getting a speck of mud on her white shirt and smart leather jacket. Or losing an eye.

I notice she’s doing a front tyre. I bet she’d still have to wipe her hands after dealing with the chain on the rear wheel.

I pulled on my oldest t-shirt and took the TyreSwitch for a test run, swapping the slicks on my bike for ones more suited to riding in Dutch rain, the default weather setting for this summer.

Needless to say it’s not quite as easy as the lady makes it look, especially with the tyres I prefer. I use the tough wire-rimmed ones, hoping I won’t get punctures so often.

The TyreSwitch was indeed an improvement on traditional tyre levers. Being a bit longer and wider it gives you a good grip for applying the necessary muscle-power. I had two new tyres on the bike and the brakes readjusted in a matter of, oh, under 40 minutes.

The TyreSwitch costs EUR5 – comparable to the price of good quality traditional tyre levers. I recommend it.

It was being sold at the market by former greengrocer, now kitchenware salesman and market stallholder Mr Henk Bisschop*. I’m sure he’d love to hear from anyone interested in taking a container-load of TyreSwitches for international export.

*Disclaimer: Mr Bisschop is not a friend of mine. I’ve never even met the chap.


Filed under Cycling, Holland

2 responses to “A BETTER TYRE LEVER? – a nifty bike invention

  1. 40 minutes to change tyres on a bike? Sheesh…

    Mind you, when we had bikes – which we have since passed on to our gardener and his family in the townships – it would take us half a day to change a tyre – longer, if it was the rear tyre – and to pump it up correctly… As I recall, that little nozzle where you’re supposed to pump air in, was a trickly blighter… We had one of those clever pumps, which you could use to blow up both racing bikes and trail bikes, but it meant that a little black rubber thingie inside the head needed to be switched around for each type of bike, and we always forgot which way round it was supposed to go, which is why the whole ‘simple’ operation took hours…

    For your sake, I hope they’ll invent a ‘new and improved’ version of these new gadgets soon.

    • I’m getting better at the tyre pumping, Reggie. Most of those 40 minutes were taken up in brake adjustment.

      But I do have a bike with quick release wheels. If Mevrouw T punctures her rear tyre I don’t know how I’d go removing the wheel sandwiched between the drum brakes, luggage rack, shopping panniers and mudguards. Fortunately in the Netherlands there’s a bike shop roughly every 200 metres.

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