What a day! Sunny, a nice breeze, and 84 degrees (29C). There was nothing to keep me off my bike, even at the expense of foregoing yard work, and putting off a chore I promised to do for my wife.
I wasn’t going to go too long — maybe 20-23 miles — something that would keep me out about an hour and half. I could tell I haven’t been riding as much as I should, but over the years, I’ve built a good base, so getting back into a rhythm wasn’t difficult.
A fellow from my cycling club caught up to me and passed me like I was standing still. But then I caught a group of unfamiliar riders, and went by them. I felt strong pushing up some small hills, and had fun reaching 35 mph going down a sweeping bend on an empty road in a new housing development.
About 13 miles in though, something wasn’t right. I had just gone through a 90-degree turn on a busy road, and was heading up another small hill, but my rear wheel felt unstable. Uh-oh — a flat!
I wasn’t comfortable changing it in the shoulder of a 65 mph highway, so I walked the bike about a quarter mile to a pulloff, and set about changing the tube. It turned out that the smallest possible shard of glass had punctured the tire and the tube. I picked it out of the tire, checked for any other debris inside the tread, yanked out the punctured tube, and got out a new one.
Some time ago, I stopped bringing my small pump on rides, deciding to stick with CO2 cartridges. I had some recently-purchased cartridges in my seat bag, but when I went to attach the inflator chuck to one, I made an unwelcome discovery. The cartridge was one of those unthreaded ones. I needed the threaded kind.
So there I was, at the side of the road, the bike upside down with the chain hanging forlornly, and doing the only thing I could think to do: Call my wife.
She was there in less than 10 minutes, and we headed home. I inflated the tube in a matter of minutes and got the tire back on the bike, but by then, it was too late. My cycling window for the day had closed.
I’ll be stopping by the bike store for a few new, threaded cartridges. And I think I’ll start carrying the mini-pump again. Sometimes, it’s not a bad thing to be a belt and suspenders kind of guy.
And you wonder why I still call this blog Bike Noob.
I know the feeling. Last year I had a blow out — I was down to the threads, so it wasn’t a susprise. However, I was on the east side of Groves, TX, about 10 miles from home at the time. I hate patching on the side of the road, so I always carry an extra tube, but I could stick my little finger through the hole in the caseing, and I had resently changed out my tool pouch, and some how left out the boot I have for just such a time. Fortuneatly, there was a trash pile near by, and I cut one out of an old napsack. I made it back to Nederland, but as I was passing by a buddy of mine’s house, I saw he was out in his yard, so I stopped to talk a while. I got a mile from my buddy’s house, and POW! My improvised boot gave up the ghost. I was only 4 miles from home, so I hoofed it in the rest of the way.
Glad to hear you’re feeling better, and back in the saddle.
Still don’t trust cartridges having had to help others out who have had problems, but I’m not trying to get the last ounce of speed out of my ride.
A flat is always a downer for a cyclist. Kind of a reminder of our mortality, at least that’s how I feel when I get one. Nice that you were able to get wifey to rescue you. Happy ending. I got a flat just four miles from home one summer with the dog in the basket and I had to walk it back in 90 degree heat. Talk about tired! I was worn out when I arrived home.
Mountainstroh (Tony) says
I have both as well! One Seattle to Portland I ran out of cylinders and the only thing that saved me was the pump attached to the frame. I hate flats!
The group I ride with always carries a bunch of the cheap cartridges that work with air rifles (so much cheaper than ones you buy at a bike shop). They are unthreaded but work great if you have an air system that takes the unthreaded cartridges. And i always like to have my trusty hand pump as a backup as well. Too bad your ride was cut short and I am looking forward to some sunny days ahead.
Bike Noob says
And I do have one of those things that takes unthreaded cartridges — on my other bike!
Grant Shawcroft says
Good advice from all. I’ve had my share of flats, since I live in Goat Head country, and they always seem to be around. Another source of flats are the little wires from those big steel belted truck tires that seem to always explosively come apart. The one thing I didn’t have an answer for, though, was when I was riding along, fat, dumb, and happy (all characteristics fit) and a spoke broke on my front wheel. The wheel immediately warped and that was that. Fortunately I had a ride buddy who rode back to the vehicles and came back to get me. Bike Noob is way ahead of me on the training level. I usually do 18-20 miles. I’m getting there though