The tires on my bicycle are looking and feeling a bit squishy, so I decided that it was time to increase their atmospheric pressure by application of generous thrusts upon a pumping device designed for the task.
I hadn’t actually needed a pump since I brought the bike, thanks to a mixture of laziness in using the bike, and luck when out on it – so off to the local bicycle emporium to make a purchase.
My last bike was stolen a few years ago, and at the time, the pump was the classic long thin tube with a short fabric covered bendy pipe that created the necessary symbiosis between bike and pump.
Fortunately, upon entering the bike shop I was able to swiftly spy my goal, but also spent a moment perusing the vastly posher looking pumps on offer. Do people really pay Â£20 for a bicycle pump I thought to myself? Do people really buy pumps with compressed air to save them the effort of manual labour I pondered.
Obviously they do, otherwise the shop wouldn’t stock them – but the concept confounded me a bit at the time.
Purchase made – and half an hour later I was back in the shop.
It seems the world has convulsed somewhat since I last owned a bike – and now there are different fittings for bike pumps.
The salesman explained that I could spend Â£20 on a gigantic pump unit which was very good at pumping tires, but looked rather difficult to store in a small cupboard – or I could spend a similar amount on one of those small posh pumps that I had been looking at in bemusement less than an hour ago.
No – you cannot use a Â£4 plastic tube any more – you have to buy a posh brushed steel pump that is less comfortable to use and costs a comparative fortune for the task it is destined to perform.
On the upside, it does look rather manly in a geeky gadget sort of way.
Whether that justifies the extra cost and an industry which seems to have switched from a time honoured simplicity to over designed industrial complexity is dubious though.