Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More Flats For You

As I was driving in to work today, the radio announced that the torrential downpours moving across the state would miss us, unless something changed. Well, something apparently changed, so no ride for me today. This left me wondering what to write about, but Cyclin' Missy came to my rescue by leaving a nice long comment about her experiences with flats.

So, without further ado, here's Missy (with a few interpolations from me.

My first flat was out on a trail alone on my mountain bike.

Well, see, there’s your first problem – riding on a trail. They have a habit of not going out and paving those things, so you have that whole nature thing going on out there – thorns, prickers…um…thorns…bear teeth, maybe, all kinds of things, any one of which can puncture a tire. I don't actually own a mountain bike, so I don't actually ride trails, so I don't really know what's out there, so I'm just guessing, but I might be right. Stranger things have happened.

I had already ridden it quite a bit, so changing the tube wasn't too hard. It was also the rear tire, so I spent the majority of my first time changing a bike tube trying to get the darned wheel back on the bike. I eventually made it...after about a half hour.

I feel your pain. I know plenty of people who can whip that back wheel back into place with that seems to be no effort at all. After quite a bit of practice, I am still not one of those people. I can get the back wheel back on, but it takes me a few minutes. The first time I ever tried it, of course, it took me infinity minutes. That is, I was never able to do it and finally have to have someone do it for me. It’s good thing I wasn't out riding a trail alone or I’d probably still be there.

The second time I changed a tube, I was really just putting a new rear tire on my road bike.

Rear tire again. Why isn’t it ever the front tire?

Um…this is not to be taken to mean that I want my front tire to go flat. I’m just saying that, if I’m going to have a flat anyway, why shouldn’t it be in the front rather than the back.

The tire was worn from the previous owner's time on a trainer.

Trainers. That’s a whole post in itself, since the second worst wreck I ever had was actually on a trainer. Don’t try to figure it out. Actually, from the standpoint of what happened to the bike, it was the worst crash ever. From the standpoint of what happened to me, it wasn’t too bad.

I thought that after doing the mountain bike tire with little trouble, I could do the road bike tire in maybe 10 or 15 minutes. All went well until I tried to get the new tire itself on. I've since learned that a brand new tire isn't very "stretched out" yet, so I eventually sucked up my pride and threw the wheel in the car for a trip to the bike shop.

Welcome to my world.

The guys there were nice enough not to charge me to finish pulling the tire over the rim.

It’s like I said once before, every bike shop needs to have a Steve. It sounds like yours does.

I'm a little nervous about getting a flat out on my road bike now.

You can’t think about it. Just ride and let the flats take care of themselves. This is a good philosophy as long as you never get a flat.

I also have some CO2 cartridges now, but I've never used them. I've heard stories about blowing a stem right off the tube with one of those.

I, too, have heard scary stories about them, but I’ve used them twice now and never had any problems whatsoever. And if I can do something with no problem, then anybody can. Trust me on this.

But I always take my cell phone along with me on a ride, so if I fail, I guess can hope that my hubby will have his ringer on. Ha!

I feel your pain there, too. My Lovely Lovely often has her phone on silent. I hope that this will not ended up causing me to walk a great distance pushing a limping bike someday.

I know people who don't ride alone very far out of concern that something might happen. Of course, they're right, something might happen. I can't prevent it, so I'll just take what precautions I can (such as carrying a spare tube) and then go out and ride. So far, many things have happened - flats, dropped chains, shifter problems, close calls with cars or dogs, road rash, getting well and truly lost, and so on, but none of them have been too bad. If you thing about that sort of thing too much, you'll just drive yourself crazy.

And what do I do when I'm driving myself crazy? I got for a ride, of course, and so should you.

See you on the road.


  1. I agree! If I thought like my worry-wort Grandma, I'd never leave the house. Instead, I take the necessary precautions and figure everything will work out in the end.

    By the way...the one time I needed to use my cell phone on a ride - when I got hit by a car - the hubby's ringer was off. I ended up getting a ride home in a police car, so that worked out alright. Actually, my husband says that he's glad he didn't get my call, because he would have been tempted to smush the girl who hit me, if he had been there. But I would have liked his comforting presence. Oh well! lol

  2. Isn't technology grand? My wife is notorious for leaving her phone on silent, so I've gotten to the point where I check it before I leave just in case!