Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Flat Tired

I was going about my typical routine this morning en route to the U of A library where I have taken up my post for the summer as a research fellow for my professor.

Sometime after I crossed Fort Lowell my trusty front tire suddenly, inexplicably went flat. It couldn't have come at a worse time (as if flat tires ever come at a good time).

When the wheel went flat, I was more concerned about whether my newly-installed, bike rack would collapse under the weight of my newly-purchased Timbuk 2 panniers. I was especially concerned about my panniers falling off since I installed the rack myself. My mechanical abilities rate somewhere around the talent level of Congressman Anthony Weiner's photography skills. Given the trouble he's in, I might actually be a more skilled mechanic.

My Flat

Anyway, my first reaction was to panic. My mind immediately harkened back to the time I pathetically tried to change a flat tire on my pick-up somewhere in West Texas. After an hour of fooling around with Chevy's poor excuse for a car jack, the damn truck rolled off the jack and on to the ground. I was utterly mortified when the repair truck arrived and replaced the tire in under 15 minutes. If incompetence had a name that day, it was me.

This time, however, I was prepared for the happenstance. It was easy enough to get the front tire off since it was as flat as a pancake. But getting the tire off the wheel was a real bitch. Fortunately, I had plenty of tools and was actually well prepared to change the flat.

Photo Jun 01 9 09 33 AM

The back story is that when I first elected to take up riding, my good friend Ben insisted that I go to a bike store, and purchase an ungodly amount of supplies that I was sure I would never need. I ridiculed Ben mercilessly for making me waste my money on $ 4, Spin Doctor Tire levelers, and a pricey, mini-CO2 pump.

Today, I learned that I needed every single tool I bought, lo, so many weeks ago, right down to the tire levelers. Ben also patiently walked me through how to actually change a flat so I wasn't totally in the dark when the big day came.

I think I owe someone a beer.

Photo Jun 01 9 27 30 AM

The above photo was really all I had to work with, and it was absolutely all I needed - although I'll need a new tube since my spare is now on my tire.

This was the finished product. As you can see, Good as new.

Photo Jun 01 9 27 03 AM

In all, the flat set me back on about a half-hour on my commute. But I managed to arrive in plenty of time, and I had a new experience while biking.

I should also be quick to add how helpful my fellow cyclists were as they passed me going down Mountain. True, Mountain probably the most heavily-biked street in Tucson, Still, no less than two cyclists actually stopped to ask if I needed help, while many others slowed down to check on me before carrying on. I needed the experience of changing the flat myself, but it was nice to know that if I were really in a pinch, I could probably count on someone passing by to help me out.

And as corny as it sounds, the next time I pass a bike parked along the sidewalk, I'll probably check and see if they need help. Just in case.

1 comment

prolix said...

Really well done for the blog.these are so sweet and pretty!
Tires Miami

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