Monday, May 07, 2007

A 2-Flat Day

Biked to work this morning, with temps hovering around the mid-30s. Long pants, polypro balaclava, windstopper gloves, and all was well. Or so I thought. When I came out of the office at 5pm, loaded up, and got on the bike to ride home, the rear tire was flat. Bummer. Quickly changed the tube with my only spare, and tried the only CO2 cartridge I had with me (and no pump), and didn't quite manage to get it all in the tire. So, with a soft tire, no spare tube, no further source of air, and 16 miles ahead of me, I headed down the street to the DownTube, which was fortunately open. Bought one tube and a 2-pack of CO2 cartridges, borrowed a pump to top off the tire, and headed home. But as I told the guy at the counter, "I didn't check the tire before I put it all back together", with predictable results. I'd gone maybe 4 miles and the tire was soft again. Pulled over, pulled the tire off, and removed a sliver of glass that was obviously responsible for both flats. Put in my one spare tube, had a better CO2 experience this time, and made it home OK. But I need to make a few changes on this commuting thing:
  • This route has enough debris that flats are inevitable, and so far I've just been lucky. I can minimize the risk of that with better tires, and that's something I need to explore, within rea$on.
  • Flats will still happen. I got off easy today, because the DownTube was open and had what I needed. If that hadn't been the case, or if I'd been somewhere else, I was up shit creek without a pump, a second spare tube, or any air of any kind. I need to carry the pump AND the CO2 cartridges so I don't get stuck somewhere. And 2 spare tubes, plus the patch kit. I checked the two tubes when I got home, and I think they're probably both patchable. I had another one in the basement, twice-patched, but it seems to hold air OK, so that's now one spare, plus the other two after I patch them. Need to buy an extra patch kit for around the house and avoid dipping into my one for the road.
  • I should have known better than to reassemble the rear wheel/tire without checking the tire. That was just haste and stupidity, because I'd learned that lesson already on other occasions. This was a good reminder.
  • Don't wear the clothes, at least the long pants, that I expect be working in. I inadvertently leaned against the chain at one point in the flat-fixing process, and they're pretty well trashed. Fortunately, this lesson was learned on the way home, and not on the way in. And though I now have a dedicated pair of long biking pants, I'm short a pair of good work pants.
On a positive note, this ride put me over 200 for the season. And I'm hoping for a better commute on Wednesday when I do this all again.


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