I was biking home from work yesterday afternoon when a piece of metal jumped into my path, bit my rear tire and then flounced away, clattering on the pavement. It left my tire looking sad and limp, but I must admit, I was rather excited. This was my first big chance to put my mini pump to use out on the road. But after removing the old tube and replacing it with a new one, I discovered with a sinking feeling that my “new tube” wasn’t new at all. It was as incapable of holding air as the tube I started with.
Bringing along tools to fix a flat tire 10 points
Knowing how to fix a flat tire 10 points
Bringing a flat tube -100 points
I lost the game. So I rolled my eyes at myself for having a spare tube with a puncture and pulled out my cellphone. It was time to be rescued. I hate being rescued. After calling for assistance, I walked my bike over to a nearby cemetery and we hung out together until my dad arrived.
On the drive home, my dad filled me in on all the latest TdF details. Hey, if I can’t ride my bike home at least I can have a conversation about biking on the way home, right? Then I was off to my youngest brother’s soccer game (which he won, yay) and I didn’t get back to my apartment until past my bedtime. So I threw a new tube on my rear tire, pumped it up and got my bike ready for my commute in the morning as fast as I could.
Waking up at 3:30 to find that my tire was suspiciously flat wasn’t a great way to start the day. I scoured the apartment for another tube, I had one somewhere…but I failed to find it. So I hijacked my sister’s bike instead.
I didn’t realized how accustomed I have become to having my feet clipped in. On my sister’s MTB with platform pedals, I had to remind myself to keep my shoes on the pedals. But the good little bike got me to work and back quite nicely.
Then I went down to the local bike shop to pick up new tubes for my bike. I had never stopped in before. The owner is a full-time teacher, his bike shop is something he opened on the side a couple years ago. He was very nice, but oddly he knew who I was.
“You’re the girl who bikes ten miles to work, right?”
Armed with two boxes of brand new tubes (just in case something happened to the first one, with my track record things weren’t looking good) I returned home determined to get my rear tire fixed once and for all. It took me a few minutes but I finally, finally, I found the root of the problem. My tire had a quarter-inch gash in it. I was in a time crunch, I was helping an elderly couple in the afternoon and I had only minutes to spare.
So I called the cyclist hotline.
“Dad, my tire has a gash in it, what do I do?”
Once he told me there wasn’t anything that I could do, I remembered my old set of tires. My dad told me to put the old front tire on until I can order a new one. So that is what I did and then I carefully made my way to the home of the elderly couple. Whew! Who know flat tires could be so much work.
There is a moral to this story.
Avoid hungry chunks of metal on the road.
My dad needs a pay raise for his cyclist assistance hotline and taxi service.
Maybe it’s both.