Emergency! might be a touch much. Well, take “might” out of there… it is a touch much. Still, this is a funny story, so let’s roll with the click bait.
I wish that Title was a joke. It’s not. My cat, Zeus, actually ate my bar tape – and right down at the bar-end plug, too. I was prepping the Venge for Tuesday night duty when I noticed it. I loved that bar tape, too. Reflexively, I immediately ordered two more sets – I figured one for the Venge, then another for the Trek… I could match them up. The Serfas Polka Dot, black on black bar tape matches perfectly with the dot matrix on my Montrose saddles – a perfect “finishing touch” bar tape – not overstated, like Supacaz, but I see it as subtly spectacular.
Now, if you know anything about me and my bikes, if you’ve read more than a post or two, you know I’m not going to live with chewed up bar tape for very long… what I wasn’t thinking when I ordered new tape, was “how can I fix this?”
You can fix this, actually. I realized I could the next morning, and that it would be quite easy, if a little time consuming.
I simply unraveled the bar tape all the way down to the end, overlapped it by about a half-width of the bar tape, re-wrapped it making sure the figure-eight at the hoods landed exactly at the same place on the tape (because it had already assumed the shape from staying wrapped around the hoods for the last few months), and Bob was literally my Uncle.
The key, of course, is making up that little adjustment evenly, with each wrap of the tape, so that I didn’t have any gaps or wide wraps that would end up making the whole thing look “off putting”.
And it came off without a hitch. I wrapped the overlap into the bar end and let the plug secure it. I took my time with each successive wrap of the tape to make sure that every wrap was just right and ended up so not only was the fix imperceptible to my exacting eyes, it looks slightly better the second time around!
So, the moral of the story (beyond, don’t leave your pride and joy race bike where the cat can eat the freaking bar tape) is, in the even your tape gets chewed up at either end, don’t panic. With a little time and effort, it’s fixable.
Now, let’s say you develop a hole in the bar tape in the middle of the wrap, something that isn’t so easily fixable. This will likely require new bar tape unless you kept the leftovers from your initial wrap job. Technically, with a little effort, you could splice something back together using angled cuts so the splice doesn’t quite stick out so bad, but if it were me, a hole in the middle of the wrap would mean new tape. To get my by until the new tape arrived, however, there’s a simpler solution…
Put the bar tape back together the best you can and wrap it with electricians tape, or better, fabric tape like the stuff used on hockey sticks – they call it “gaffer’s tape”. My riding buddy, Chucker used this method quite successfully. You can’t hardly tell where the bar tape ends and the gaffer’s tape starts. This solution isn’t permanent, however. Eventually, with sweat and wear, the gaffer’s tape will show signs of fading and wear. Eventually, you’re going to have to cut all of that away and go with fresh bar tape.
And there you have it – what to do in the event your cat eats your bar tape. Ride hard, my friends… and here’s to hoping an overly affectionate pussycat is the biggest problem of the day.