Changing your own tires

I mount my own tires because – I don’t know why. You save money, but it takes an order of magnitude longer to do than if you brought your wheels to a pro.

How I break the bead


My bestest friends who got me into motorcycling woke me up to this form of self punishment some 10 years ago. We were track day junkies and my bud was like “get a No Mar mount/demount bar and change your own tires” and I was like “sh*t yeah!”


Makeshift changer – that pipe is clutch

So I’ve got this MRP dirt bike tire changing stand, a No Mar bar, and some seriously primitive pieces of wood and pipe, and for years I’ve been mounting my own sport bike tires.

No Mars’s “yellow thing”: the 3rd hand

I think changing road tires is something I never thought was a DIY activity. I just never thought it was something Joe Schmoe could reasonably do on his own. And actually, it isn’t (without a serious investment in a real changer). But you know what? I disappear late at night, waste 2+ hours, and I come back with new kicks on my rims. And I’m pretty flippin impressed with myself and the world when this happens.

No Mar’s bar makes it possible

So there. But seriously, I don’t recommend this.


Sh*t happens

Sh*t happens

Setting the scene

After an awesome, full-immersion race weekend at Carolina Motorsports Park with CCS and LWT Racer, there was a long trip ahead of us to get back home…

Finally back to the first day’s rendezvous point in Maryland, we each emptied our stuff from the enormous Dodson Express trailer. I piled some stuff up here, piled some stuff up there, leaned my backpack against the car, loaded the bike on the trailer, etc.

One of my piles was too far away – I decided to just move my rig forward a little.


Wait – did I lean my backpack up against the car? A quick glance out the window, and I suddenly felt sick…

Don’t be fooled by that smile. Shot by Loyle 909

Well sh*t. That brandy-new (refurbished, actually) MacBook Pro I bought 1 month before? I ran over it with my Honda Element. I learned this before a 4 hour leg alone to finish the trip home. If anyone had a shovel I’m pretty sure I would have dug a hole and climbed in.

Zero Downtime

Fast forward a few days, I’m mostly over the ordeal. But get this — despite these facts

  1. The bottom of the laptop is brutally bent
  2. The bottom cover is ripped off with mounting screws torn out
  3. The screen is bent and cracked in many places
  4. The aluminum base nearly cracked near the ports

the laptop still

  1. has a functioning screen (I logged in and can get around some)
  2. has functioning wifi, bluetooth
  3. has a functioning webcam
  4. has a functioning keyboard (every key!)
  5. has a functioning trackpad
  6. still allows use of all ports


So… wow. Zero downtime at work! I just get some external gadgetry plugged in and I can git-pull and move on with my life. As the days passed, I became even more impressed with this. Rugged is not really a term I use to describe Apple products – mostly because they aren’t marketed that way. But I’ll be damned if I didn’t just run over my laptop with a car -significantly changing the device’s physical dimensions – and continued using it as a daily tool. I’m impressed.

But I wanted a laptop

Using this sexy Retina 13 (now with no screen) as a desktop-only wasn’t good enough. I missed the amazing battery life and high-res imagery that my older laptop couldn’t deliver (I hadn’t sold it yet, thankfully). And while git makes a software life worth living, I still like to keep gobs of local task branches that I don’t push to the origin. I wanted one machine to use at home and away.


After some “just fix it” pressure from the BikeMinds team and some help from my Dad and his vice, I got the laptop bent back to a near-flatness that I can live with. Mix in a replacement screen and some tools from iFixit et voila – I’ve got a 13″ Retina MacBook Pro again! One I can even use as a laptop, believe it or not.

Again – Wow.

Seriously, this laptop was run over by a car (whose tire actually pressed a SureFire flashlight into the laptop), got the bejeezus bent out of it, and kicks the same @$$ it did before any of this happened. I am pretty sure any laptop that didn’t have a cast metal body would have been a total loss. My dilemma, the laptop’s survival, and the amazing convenience iFixit brings to repairing personal electronics – I challenge anyone not to be impressed by this outcome.

But enough of that, when’s the next race weekend?