Wheel Transport Series Part 1
Breakin’ it down
Wheel is fun, I love it and I have met thousands of people who agree. But out of all the wheelers and wheel lovers I have met I have never found someone who loved the hassle of moving wheels from place to place. Expensive to fly with, a pain to drive with, and a nightmare on public transport, all in all wheels like to stay in one place built together. Unfortunately as a performer that’s not how it’s gonna be. I have been breaking wheels down a long time (I just did the math: over 8 years!) and as something that I have done thousands of times, I have picked up a few tips. So this is going to be a 3 part series about the worst part of German wheeling: moving wheels around. Lets start at the beginning.
To take a wheel apart, first stand it up on both hoops as if you were going to do a cartwheel. Then take out all the screws. Don’t be silly and bend down to loosen the screws at the bottom; remember the wheel is a circle and just roll it a bit so the screws come up to you. Do be careful here as you are taking all the screws out; some wheels like to stick together and some like to spring apart. It only happened once in all my years breaking wheels apart, but once I had a wheel piece pop full out of both connections and come down on top of a friend who was helping me, so just be careful. But most likely you will be able to get all the screws out and the wheel will still stay together. Now while the wheel is standing you want to pull one set of the joints apart. Depending on you and your wheel there are a lot of different ways to do this. I am tall and have very long arms so reaching the top of the wheel is a non-issue for me. I like to put the set of joints I want open at the top of the wheel (look for the ones that are already starting to open up), then I put one hand on either side of the connection and I pull down and apart. The down is crucial, because the wheel presses outward against itself to gain strength so the inward pull loosens the connection then the apart will release it. Sometimes a wheel will be stubborn and not want to come apart (this probably means it is time to re-grease your wheel). I like to use just a little bit of Lithium grease, but any machine grease should work (never use WD40!!!) A friend of mine Zeb loved to break his wheel apart by taking the screws out, laying it on its side, then rolling it in a small spiral circle from the outside until it broke apart. Seemed like a cool idea to me. There are 100 ways to skin a cat, so feel free to experiment and find what works for you. Once you have one set of joints apart you want to lay the wheel down on its side. To break the other pieces apart I like to stand inside the wheel putting my feet on the bottom hoop and my hands on the top. Then I lift the wheel up off the ground a little while pulling apart with my feet and my hands. It takes a little practice but eventually you’ll be breaking that wheel down in no time. Come back next week for the joy of wheel carrying. 🙂