Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I can’t seem to find my nippel.

Now hold on there.  Remember when I said “all grammar and spelling mistakes are intentional”?  

This is a different kind of “nippel”.   Not like a “grease nipple”.  I haven’t seen one of those in years, to be honest.  Mostly these days grease nipples can only be found on farm equipment,  although I do seem to recall there were a couple on the snow blower.  I think. 

My poor snow blower.  It’s been sitting for a few winters now.  I think it might end up being a donation to one of the schools in the area that has an auto shop? 

Where was I?   Right.  Nipples.  Or “Nippels” as the case may be.


Here’s the thing.  We have four bikes with us here in Europe,  two of which we shipped from Canada.  I think I mentioned this.  Well,  bikes here in Europe have a different style of valve stem than those that you’d find on a car.  So after I went out and bought a pump in the Netherlands,  I discovered that I could not pump up the tires on the bikes.  Didn’t matter if they were the Dutch ones or the Canadian ones.  (well,  Chinese ones is probably more accurate)

I may very well have bought the wrong kind of pump,  but when I enquired as to why I was having problems, the guy in the Dutch bike shop knew exactly which little gizmo I was lacking. 

Thankfully there’s a search feature here on the blog,  and I was able to go back to the post I wrote about this in September of 2008 and fetch a picture of this little gem.   This was the item that I needed in order to get the pump to fasten onto the valves stems.


Yes kids,  that’s an “Amerikaans Verloopnippel”.   I’m sure you’re happy to know that.

This is the little guy I’ve been trying to find for the last couple days.  Now that I think of it,  I’m pretty sure there’s a spare inner tube somewhere as well.  In a box.  Somewhere.


You can see here that these valve stems are different.


That’s actually on one of the neighbour’s bikes,  since the one I took from my bike didn’t exactly turn out.


And I’m not going all the way back down to the basement to take another picture, but you get the idea.


So I did a little sniffing around on the net,  and found a quasi bike shop on Mariahilfer,  out past the Gürtel.  There are not as many bike shops here as there are in the Netherlands,  but that goes without saying.  Biking and all things to do with that activity is pretty much the best that anyone could ever hope for in the Netherlands.  There are times when I miss that aspect.


So I managed to explain what I thought I needed,  and ended up with what they refer to as a “Zwischenstück”.  (an “in between piece”)   I was expecting something a little more technical,  in keeping with the way the Germans and Austrians like to ‘over-unsimplify’ things.

But,  if you look at the description on the receipt,  you can see why the store clerks used the simpler term.



Um ya.  It’s a “Reduziernippel von Sclaverand Ventil auf Schrader Pumpe”.  

Right then.  Whatever.

We’ll just call it the “in-between piece”.   That should do it. 


And that’s all fine and dandy,  except for the fact that it’s not the piece I need.  It looked like something that would work,  but it doesn’t.

See,  the end of the pump sort of clamps on the valve stem.  Why it’s that way is a complete mystery to me.


So I guess the good news is, I’ll be able to use my “Zwischenstück” once we’re back in Canada,  when I’d have no other way of pumping up the European inner tubes.  I’m happy for that.

Meanwhile, I guess I have to go back to the store and see what else they have kicking around. 

Or,  I could just shove the flippin’ bike back down in the basement and forget the whole thing.   The jury is out.


Oh,  and by the way,  this is why it’s not a terribly good plan to venture out there right around noon time in a vehicle. 


For the most part,  you can get to your destination faster if you walk, or take the subway.  It’s madness.


Speaking of madness,  I did manage to get the two fluorescent lamps installed.   Let’s just say they’re easier to take out than they are to put in?   I don’t even want to try to describe it,  since I may very well start to cry.  I think it’s holding the mirror, AND balancing on the back of the toilet AND being careful not to drop the lamp,  all the while trying to install some skinny little breakable thing into the tightest fitting place you could ever imagine. 

There’s not even any learning curve.  Even once you get one in,  that doesn’t make the next one any easier. 



Well,  I think I’ve made you move your eyes back and forth enough.  The rest of the day is going to be just about as mundane as the first bit,  with the minor exception that Travelling Companion has to go out to a little celebration this evening.  That means she’ll stop by here long enough to fetch me,  so I can then drop her off and pick her up later.   Such is the reason for my existence.    Well,  that and the use of my highly skilled ability to find semi-useless little bike parts.


Keep those sticks on the ice.


Thanks for stopping by.




  1. This brought back some funny and less than funny bike struggles during by seven years in the Netherlands:)

  2. your blog labels made me chuckle...there is always a chuckle in your blogs for theres a purpose :) have a super day

  3. Who knew bike stems would be different in Europe. Not me but since I've never been and never will, I'll take your word for it.

  4. Look up Schreader valve adapters, or Presta valve adapters, depending on which way you are going....

  5. That title sure got my attention!!!
    EGADS, how much work you went through it get a new bike value. About as bad as applying for a passport!

  6. Your always find some trivial things to do to fill your days. But these trivial chores are very important at the time.


Well, I've been getting too many spam comments showing up. Just a drag, so we'll go another route and hope that helps. So, we won't be hearing anything more from Mr. Nony Moose.
I guess I'll just have to do without that Gucci purse.