Sunday, April 5, 2015

Fixing A Flat Like Never Before

As much as I ride, you might think it’s common for me to suffer flat tires. Actually, it’s exceedingly rare. In a typical year I might have to make one roadside fix. Most of my flat tires are the result of slow leaks, something discovered in the garage on the day after a ride. On a solo road ride today, I noticed that my rear tire was going down and it wasn’t going to get me home without a new tube. That was an unwelcome situation, of course, but also an opportunity to try something new.

A couple of years ago I bought a Planet Bike Air Kiss CO2 inflator. I had never used such a device before, so I did one practice tube change at home and then stuffed the inflator and a cartridge into my seat bag. And there they stayed until today. The few flats I had in the meantime were on other bikes, fixed with trusty low-tech frame pumps.

I approached today’s innertube swap with a little apprehension. CO2 inflators can be unforgiving. I had just one tube and just one CO2 cartridge, so any mistake might leave me stranded. But I did a good job to ensure no pinching of the tube and a proper seating of the tire’s bead within the rim, and the inflator worked exactly as advertised.

Finding things that I haven’t encountered during a bike ride is getting harder. Every experience—even a humble one like today’s—makes me a little more capable and confident. But I still don’t know what I will do if I snap a chain in the middle of nowhere …

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