My day started out perfectly. I checked the weather, put on my biking clothes, walked the dogs and ready to head out the door, I started to clip my pannier on my bike rack.
That’s when it all went wrong.
I noticed my bike bounced oddly while I was adjusting the pannier cord. With a sinking heart, I grabbed the rear tire and sure enough it was very soft indeed.
There was no time to waste. I took the wheel off my bike and pulled out the tube. I pumped it up but I failed to find any hiss of wayward air. I checked the tire for any sharp objects, but there were none.
I figured my tube had a slow leak, if I pumped it up well I would make it to work and then I could worry about fixing it later. But once the tube was inside the tire once more, I could not get the pressure above 30 psi. Weird.
So I tried to locate the leak all over again, dunking the tube in a sink full of water. But there were no bubbles-anywhere!
“I am going mad.”
I thought to myself.
“I must have put the valve in the pump wrong…or something.”
The tube went back on the rim, this time it was going to work. I knew it.
But once again the air hissed out as fast as I could pump it up. I was running out of precious time. Was it time to call someone with a vehicle to rescue me?
I have a stubborn streak when it comes to riding in cars, they are always my last resort so I wracked my brain. Surely there was a way out of this mess. Finally, an idea hit me. I could use the rear wheel off my sister’s bike because her rim allows for schrader valves and I had several tubes with schrader valves lying around. I frantically got a tire and tube on the rim, pumped it full of air and then wrestled the wheel onto the frame on my bike. While I was maneuvering the wheel onto my bike, my hand got pinched. My reflexes kicked in and I yanked my hand free.
One way or another I managed to get out the door only 30 minutes late.
Now was my chance to make up for lost time. Usually my ride to work is a calm affair with steady pedaling on an easy gear. But today I approached my commute as a ten mile time trial, that I had to win.
I was focused on keeping my cadence as high as I possibly could but while I climbed a large hill, my pedals locked up. I hopped off the bike and flipped my headlight backwards expecting the worst. Mind racing, I inspected the derailleur. The chain was stuck behind the gears and a few violent tugs set it free. We were back in business. I called my coworker to let her know that I would be late, in case she started to wonder what had happened to me.
The rest of the ride was a blur and as I came to the final stretch I sprinted as hard I could, this was a time trial after all!
I stepped into the restaurant six minutes late. Technically, I lost the race but as I walked to the bathroom to clean off the sweat and grime, I was startled when I realized that the most prominent thought in my mind was,
“That was kinda fun!”
Next time though, if I have any say in the matter, I would prefer to skip the bleeding part.