The last few weeks have not been kind to me. Too much easy living, too many long and stressful work days (these are hopefully mostly past for now), and not enough days of just getting on the bike and getting in a ride without worrying about how long or challenging.
Then I get last Saturday’s ride. It started out well enough – Rich and I were riding with the Western Wheelers C+ group (that’s a good thing – ‘A’ is the slowest in this ride organizing system). I was moving along near the front of the group when I hear a ‘tick, tick, tick’ sound from the vicinity of my front wheel. I reached down and did a ‘glove cleans off the tire’ move and felt something go flying and continued on without a care in the world.
Sadly, in about half a mile, I noticed that my front tire was going flat. I stopped. Rich stopped.
Rich said, ‘grab your spare, we’ll make this the quickest change ever’. Spare came out, wheel came off, tire irons flew, and the tire and tube were off in no time.
The new tube went into the tire, and the first signs of trouble poked up like unwanted dandelions on a freshly mown lawn. We tried to put a bit of air into the tube so that it would hold its shape and be easier to fit on, but it wouldn’t hold air. In a classicly brilliant move, we decided to mount the tube and tire anyway. Almost as smooth as starting a land war in Asia. Pump, pump, pump, check, nothing. Pump, pump, pump, check, still nothing. It must be the pump! (not) – try Rich’s pump. Pump, pump, pump, check, nothing. Huh? Ok, its the tube. Grab Rich’s spare tube. Check it – it holds air, mount it on the wheel, Oops! the valve stem isn’t tall enough – we can’t pump up the tire. Ok, maybe we’re just spazes… re-mount the first spare, Pump, pump, pump, check, do’h! still nothing. Eventually we came to the startling conclusion that it was the tube / valve stem not working.
Ok, lets see if someone riding by has a tube to spare. First person – nope, second, nope – third, bingo! Cyclists are so nice. On it went and off we went to finish the ride.
<more in a bit maybe>