Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Another First - or - That's What You Get For Thinkin'

Pedaling in to work recently, possibly even today, I happily reflected that having biked most days since early July (and having spent unholy sums getting my bike more ride-able), I have been quite fortunate that I have not had a flat.

Today I thought I might bike the several blocks (or maybe a Biblical few) from work to my class at the Sacramento City College Downtown Center and perhaps gain a couple of minutes study time.  Hmmm, I wondered - are the minutes taken locking and unlocking worth the minutes saved biking rather than walking.  Yes,  I'll bike!  Unlocked the bike, made my usual 'graceful' mount, and started pedaling.  Something didn't feel right.  A glance down revealed the answer, which you already know.  My tire was flat.  Which meant that I spent the time unlocking and locking and STILL had to walk to class.  I was not late, but I didn't study either.

Which also meant that after work (after working a half hour later than usual because the deal with the State and the class is half my time and half the State's time) I got to change my tire. (Front tire, fortunately.)  For the very first time!  Despite having had a bike shop guy "teach" me how to change a tire and having watched Joseph change my tire (with amazing speed and strength) explaining to me as he did so, and having the requisite items in my bike bag, I approached this task with images of me sitting in the gathering gloom of downtown dusk weeping amidst scattered bike parts.  Nothing like positive imaging, eh? 

Actually, it went quite well.  I had found "How to change a bicycle tire" on-line and printed it up (10 pages with pictures) to help guide me.   And I did it. The whole thing.  ok, at the very last, some guy biking in to work as I finished pumping up the tire hung around to make sure I got the wheel back on ok and reminded me about the easy brake release so I didn't let the air back out of my tire to get it past the brakes.

But I did it.  And it got me home.  Rode pretty well (i.e. soothly) - better than the ride in, come to think of it. 

Once home, I got out our pump with a gauge on it and was pleasantly surprised to find that I had gotten it to over 75 lbs.  Not bad!  My tires take 75 or 80  - to 100 lbs.  I am afraid to go all the way to 100 lest when I heave my bulk upon the saddle the back tire will burst, but I like to get it up well past 90.  Faster, smoother ride.  And I find that deuced difficult, I tell you.  Did you know that bike tires need to be pumped up at least once a week because rubber is not actually air tight?  More exercise than the biking itself and less fun.

Despite my amazing pumping job and Benjamin's still more amazing topping it off all the way to 100 -  maybe a little more -  when we told him my range, he let some air out.  Then he discovered the joys of cool compressed air and let a lot of air out.  Which was ok, because despite my amazing pumping accomplishment, Joseph and I decided it would be a good idea to take the whole thing apart again, because I had not been able to determine the cause of the flat.  Benjamin found the leak in the tube.  On the wheel side.  A spoke poke? Joseph thinks not , as it is smaller than a spoke and round.  (Spoke ends are not round?)  Also, I had and he did again check the rim tape which appeared to be fine.  Still not knowing why the flat, we put the wheel back together and back on my bike.  (Good luck tomorrow)

Then we put my recently purchased lights on, because it is getting to be that time of  year and I was not sure I would make it home before darkishness set in.  Images of a flat Mama whose affairs are not in order ( a rather large non-flat if you know what I mean flat Mama) - not pretty!  Or being pulled over and ticketed for riding without lights and being told I had to walk my bike home.  Unpleasant thoughts, which fortunately also did not materialize.

Dinner was late. (But it was good!) Now I am late to bed.  Wishing you all peaceful rest after happy and productive days.


  1. Now that you've done it successfully, if you have to do it again, you'll be more prepared and confindent. :) Good for you! Be safe!!!

  2. The bad news is that by the time I got to work this morning, the tire was spongy again. I am hoping to get home by pumping it up, but obviously something is wrong somewhere. Good thing I started with two spare tubes (and a patch kit). I think I need to check the rim liner AGAIN.

  3. Quite the amusing post. LOL. I am glad you are getting proficient in your changing abilities. Soon you will be as fast as the racers, who can do the whole thing in under a minute. THAT I would pay to see.

    Hope you get it figured out, without too much expense...either financially or time wise.