Organising the bicycle workshop is taking longer than anyone expected, and keeps throwing up surprises. Last week I was trying to tidy up the bike store when I found a very large box full smaller boxes, all containing bicycle spokes, anything from 72 spokes to 500 in a box.

And then I found a bigger one behind it.

I worked in a bike shop for a while, and even rebuilt a wheel once or twice but I have no formal training, so pretty much all my knowledge about bicycle spokes was that they were rather important to the continued forward motion of a bicycle, and that they came in a bewildering array of shapes and sizes. This clearly was insufficient, so I went for my usual solution in these circumstances, and went online.

Well it turns out that as well as being all kinds of lengths, spokes can be different diameters. To make life even more complicated they can be narrower at one end than the other (“single-butted”), or in some cases narrower in the middle and wider at both ends (“Double butted”) Oh, joy,

Eventually I stole found some boxes from the depths of the sorting room and started by separating the single and double butted spokes, which thankfully was helped because the maker had colour coded the boxes, then slowly sorting all the boxes by length, which rapidly became sorting them into within 10mm of length because they were almost all different.

This took a while, partly because I had to clear another shelf to keep the sorted spokes in…

However, by the end of the day the floor was clear and most of the spokes were sorted (We’ll ignore those boxes on the top of the shelves for time being) and I am well on the way to being a spoke nerd.

Now all I have to do is remember how to actually build a wheel…