1380.5 miles on the Orbea with no flats, well, until today. After 10 miles down the road, somewhere between Danville and Alamo, I ran through some small debris and could tell something had attached to the tire as metronomic …tap… …tap… …tap… was emanating from one of the tires, sounded like the front tire. So, I slowed down and stopped on the side of the road in a very nice neighborhood with no sidewalk but a wide bike trail. I couldn’t find anything on the tires after spinning each one and visually inspecting and running my hand over them, so, I started to roll the bike to inspect the tires again and realized the front tire was lacking some much needed pressure.
No problem, I unzipped my little seat bag and started to pull out the tire irons and extra tube. I popped the tire off the rim and pulled out the tube. I put a bit of air into it and instantly could hear and then feel a nice stream of air escaping from a small cut. I inspected the tire some more and still couldn’t find the offending tube killer. Did a review of the inside of the tire and all was smooth and good, so, time to throw on the new tube and continue the ride.
A quick moment later I realized that, first, the spare tube had a shraeder valve and not a presta valve and, second, it was a bit too wide a tube. Think it actually was a tube for my old Peugeot. Regardless, I decided to give it a go but the valve was not going to cooperate as it was just too wide to fit through the opening in the wheel. Okay, lets check the bag again for a patch kit. Nope, for some reason that critical piece of biking first aid was missing. Thinking back on it I probably pulled it out during some Cycling Merit Badge instruction and didn’t put it back. So much for “Be Prepared”. A fail all around.
The fall back bicycle first aid is seeing if a passing cyclist has a patch. Many a passing biker did ask if I needed anything but they either weren’t genuine inquiries or they were just moving too quick to really grasp my response. I’m sure it was the latter as they wouldn’t bother to ask if they weren’t willing to help. Cyclists are very friendly and helpful. Well, I now reach for that last item that no respectable cyclist should use since they should be prepared. Yep, the good ole cell phone.
Fortunately I got in touch with my brother in Dublin and he dispatched my nephew to do a road rescue. Fifteen minutes or so later and I was moving without pedaling. Was nice of my nephew to escape his household chores and come rescue me. Also a great opportunity to visit a bit. I got back to the truck and decided that fate had spoken and my riding for the day would end.
On the way home I did stop at a local bike shop and grabbed a couple of properly sized tubes with the correct valve. Arriving home I pulled the front tire apart again and did another inspection. Thought maybe I’d found a cut but had to grab my old man’s vision assistance device (magnifying glass) to confirm that a cut had made a quick job of taking out the tube. I decided that it was time to go ahead and swap out the tires along with the tubes. I’d purchased a couple of tires about as many years ago and my Orbea now has a fresh set of pimpy orange tires with new tubes and I also have a properly sized and typed spare tube in the seat bag. Just need to find my patch kit and throw it in there too.
All-in-all it was an okay experience as I learned that I’d not kept things up like I should. Being that I was near my brother the experience was tempered. I also learned that a flat isn’t likely to result in disaster, at least not at 20mph and straight and level. Don’t think I’d want to have it happen while going 45-50mph, on a steep down hill curve, which is the terrain I encounter if I start my ride from the house, but I think with the correct reaction that may not be a problem either. Steady and light reactions are the way to go in most vehicle emergencies.
People! Don’t throw glass and other crap on the roads!
About the author
Entrepreneur Jeff Lambert is the President and founder of JVHM, Inc., a software development business located in the San Francisco Bay Area but serving clients around the globe. Jeff's expertise includes website design and development, Facebook development, blogging integration, SEO, video production, CRM systems, database design and development and more. In his "spare" time Jeff likes to hang out with his family, run, play tennis and, until recently, was Scoutmaster with a local Boy Scout troop.