The Road to a Flat Tire is Paved With Good Intentions

When I bought my bike I wanted to be ready for possible problems on the road. I already had a patch kit so I put that in my bag and I planned on buying a bicycle tool kit and spare tubes to take with me but then reality set in. I had very limited space and my recumbent bike has two different size tires so I would have to carry two tubes with me and just couldn’t justify the room (I’ll bet NASA has the same problem). I did have room for a small tool kit but procrastination got the better part of me.

I noticed a few weeks ago that my tires were looking a bit worn so I planned on buying new tires and tubes and replacing them. This would not only cut the risk of a flat, it would also give me valuable experience if I needed to fix a flat on the road. It has been years since I fixed a flat and never on this particular bike.

I am very busy during the week so I decided to do this on the weekend. The weekend before last, my wife and I were away for our anniversary, and last weekend other circumstances prevented me from replacing my tires. I decided this coming weekend I would do it for sure.

When I got to work Wednesday I noticed my rear tire looked worse than ever. I thought to myself, “Just last one more day. I’ll drive to work on Friday and everything will be right with the world.”

It was not to be. I was two miles from work yesterday when the rear tire went flat. I put air in it but it would not hold it. I thought about patching it on the road but since I am somewhat of a novice on bike repair, I decided to walk the bike to work and fix it on my lunch break. I must say I felt a little silly walking with my bike but I made it to work only ten minutes late.

During lunch I pulled the tire off and put air in the tube. I am glad I did not stop to fix it on the road because I could not find the leak without putting it under water. I got out my patch kit and discovered the tube of rubber cement was empty. Can you tell yet that I was never a Boy Scout?

Fortunately there is an auto parts store near my work so I bought a patch kit there that had enough for about 50 patches. A bit overkill but beggars can’t be choosers.

I patched the tube and made it home with no problem, although I did have to carefully dodge a lot of road debris and I ran over a lug nut as I was racing to get through a green light. That made me nervous but caused no leak.

As we all know, the best way to learn is by making mistakes. If failure is a great teacher, than I am a great student. Tomorrow I am buying new tires, tubes, tools and whatever else I need and I will be better prepared the next time this happens.


2 thoughts on “The Road to a Flat Tire is Paved With Good Intentions

  1. Lune

    First off, congratulations on your anniversary! May you have many more happy ones!

    I’m also faced with the issue of two different sizes of tires, but the issue for me isn’t space but weight. I put everything in a daypack that hangs on the back of the seat. I’ll send a photo if you want.

    So, the cargo works out to: two inner tubes, a patch kit, a chain tool with an extra master link (there’s a story behind that decision) a pump, tire fixing tools, batteries for the lights, a multi-tool and a pocket knife. I also carry a zip-lock baggie for nitrile gloves and damp-wipes. (I don’t dislike getting my hands dirty, but I dislike leaving them dirty and transferring the dirt to everything else I touch, like clothes, books, face, — you get the picture.) Add to that when I’m heading to school my laptop, notebook, calculator. (I learned to digitize the textbooks early.) Then there’s lunch and water. And when I go to work, there’s often something I’m carrying for that. And a cell phone. If the weather is bad, I’ll carry a change of clothes. When all is said an done, there’s easily twenty-five pounds of carry. At this point, not sure I could keep my balance without all that ballast.

  2. Charles Huss Post author

    I didn’t think about the chain tool. That is another thing I need to get. You are right. I need to fully stock my bag, including the two tubes. I think I will buy a small bag for the front. Having that should help. Since the rainy season is about over, I should be able to leave my rain gear home which will give me enough room for everything. I think I am ready to cross over from beginner to intermediate. Imagine that.


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