The other day, Mrs. Noob and I took a 12-mile ride. A stiff northwest wind pushed us along during the first leg — I could coast at 28 mph. When we reached the Veloway and turned back into the wind, she told me to take off on my own.
“I’m going to do two laps,” she said. “That’s about all I can handle in this wind.”
I took off. Several riders in cycling gear were ahead of me, and I fell into line, eventually passing two of them, and being blown off mercilessly by a third. On the second lap, I reached the short hill, and felt the back wheel waver a bit. At the top of the hill, I slowed and pulled over. The young lady I had passed a half lap back caught up, and asked me if I needed anything. I told her no, and pressed the rear tire. It was soft.
But it wasn’t really flat yet, and I couldn’t find a puncture. Now was the time to test my new pump in the field — for real. It did a nice job of pumping up the tire. I reattached it, and pedaled easily around to the Veloway entrance. Pat wasn’t there yet, but the tire was a little soft again, so while I waited for her, I got out the pump and filled the tube again.
Pat pulled up to me as I was finishing, and I told her what happened. She was glad I’d be going slowly on the way home, since the wind would be in our faces most of the way, and she was having a tough time maintaining forward momentum.
On a long downhill stretch during the trip home, I found myself keeping the bike’s speed in check, because the rear tire was going soft again, and wasn’t all that stable. I got through the stoplight and pulled the bike off the road one more time for a pump up.
I had one mile to go to reach the house, and I made it. I suppose I could have replaced the tube out on the Veloway, but since the tire seemed to be only leaking, and hadn’t gone flat, I figured a try to get home would be worth it. It was. The pump proved itself, and I got used to operating it quickly. This is one purchase I’m glad I made.
Back in the garage, I pulled the rear tire and replaced the tube. I’ll patch the bad one later, if I get bored and am looking for something to do.
I generally replace a tube on the spot if it’s giving me trouble. Actually, I usually try to patch the bad tube first. I have gotten pretty efficient at it.
I would normally do the same. In this case, I was fairly close to home, so I decided to try to make it.
Given that I’ve never, in my life, gotten a flat tire on the bike (despite riding thousands and thousands of miles, albeit most of them in fat-tired bikes) I always make sure I use my mini-pump on a regular basis just to make sure it still works… even if it’s just topping off one of the two tires because the floor pump is so much better…