I got screwed! Earlier that morning, I was going through the checklist in my mind of everything I would need to change a flat to make sure I could change my tire if I had to. I always do this when I'm biking to or from work. I wondered if I was really prepared to fix a flat on that day. I knew I had:
- Tire irons
- Patch kit
- Spare tube
Yes, I thought, I had everything. I just didn't think I would actually need it. So there I was, hauling as fast as I could away from work, towards my house on Bike To Work Day, trying to make it to one commuter pit stop before it closed, and PSSsssst the tire went flat.
I had my GoPro running, and I considered filming myself changing the flat, but then I thought, "what if I can't do it and then all I end up filming is myself having a pity party right there on the curb." So I turned off the camera and took out all my gear and got to work fixing the flat.
I love having a road bike with quick releases, it makes getting the tires on and off very fast and easy. Removing the screw from my tire involved unscrewing it and inspecting the inside of the rim for damage. I used the tire irons that I keep in my backpack at all times. They cost $1. They're lightweight plastic.
|Photo from bikehacks.com|
When I reached for my pump, I took one look at it and realized (S#@$) I had brought a mountain bike pump instead of a road bike pump. I have at least 3 small pumps and some of them are configured for Presta and some for Schrader. But luckily, just this month we had purchased several adapters for a cost of, you guessed it, only $1.
After opening the Presta valve and fitting it with the adapter, I placed the tube inside the tire and gently inflated it. This gives the proper shape to the tire and makes the fit snug between the tire and tube. I shimmied my gloved hands along the tire with the tube inside it to make sure that the tube was seated comfortably in there.
|Mini Dual G|
Try as I might, I could only get just past 60 psi but I figured hey, I'll just ride slow and get to a bike shop. But I ended up riding all the way home. So I guess the take-home message is that you MUST travel with these items at all times. This flat was not patchable I would say, so I'm grateful I had a spare tube. And the $1 adapter saved my a$$.
From our commuter workshops we learned that most cyclists fear biking to work because they aren't sure how to address changing a flat tire. I did the job in about 15 minutes with very little drama and with no help whatsoever from passersby. If I can do it, so can you!
Profound thought from the ride home: If I ride fast, it'll hurt less when I get hit by a car from behind. That's physics people! But why was I having such a morbid thought? Hey drivers: give me 3 feet. And slow down please. I got a flat while riding in a bike lane. If I had swerved to avoid the hazard (screw, glass, etc) and not swerved towards the door zone, there would have been nowhere to go since cars were whizzing by me at 50 mph in an area with a 35 mph posted speed limit.