It’s true what they say, the old wives tale or superstition about bad things coming in three’s, at least for me. I don’t wish to drone on and on about this, I’m a nice guy so it’s not bad karma or bad ju ju and so why do bad things happen to me? I get out of bed on the same side every morning but somehow yesterday I got off on the wrong foot or something. I published my blog post and when it popped up on fb it had some coding errors which needed fixin’. DAD BLASTED!! Next the computer beat me at chess, happens a lot. The only thing I stink at worse is golf. Then I’m eight miles into my ride and I flat. I can go for months without a puncture and then it’s like an epidemic or something so much so that I start to questioning my tire choices, start looking for bullet proof tires only to conclude that there is no such a thing. I ride clinchers that have a very high thread count, Continental 4000 25 mm. Tubulars look like a nightmare to install and remove. Tubeless look like a real messy hassle to install as well but the repair “LOOKS” simple. Just add some sealant thru the valve stem. Then there’s the tubular clincher. It’s a bladder that mounts to a clincher rim, no glue. Like the tubular and tubeless the flat repair is to add sealant. No more tubes or spoons(tire levers), just carry sealant. Question though? If you don’t find the foreign object which is often my problem, what prevents the 2nd flat, regardless of the tire? I ‘ll stick with clinchers for now for this very reason but I also balked at the price of some of the others. (It’s recommended that you do carry a tube if riding tubeless tires).
But back to my last puncture for a minute. It’s another one of those microscopic shards of something really sharp that’s imbedded and not showing it’s ugly self until the tire is inflated, or too late. Even though I was able to locate it I cannot remove it, I’m not properly equipped. The Book Of Heisea is crystal clear about this, “The tool you need is the one you don’t have.” Here endith todays lesson. Anyway…………………
I carry a tube, 2 cans of air and air valve, a spoon, a boot(small piece of old tire) and 1 or 2 of those sticky patches. Short of blowing the tire out at the bead I can repair just about any tire problem with what I carry. If the tire blows at the bead, well………..Cryin’ won’t help ya, prayin’ won’t do no good.(Levee Song Kansas Joe and Memphis Minnie) Damage to the tires bead is catastrophic and the only repair is another tire. I don’t carry one, not many do. Time to call for extraction.The hand pumps are fine but the last time I went to use mine the O rings had dried up and it started leaking backwards at about 80 pounds. Trust me 80 lbs will get you home. I may revisit the hand pump in the future. If you are going to rely on one you might want to check it over from time to time.
And so I proceed to cover the suspected puncture in the tire with my sticky patch, put it all back together using the spare tube, inflate and head on back to the barn. There I’ll need to dig out the little sharp imbedded piece of crap before it has a chance to bite me in the ass again. Like I said I know where it is but I confirm this by inflating the punctured tube and find the leak in my handy bucket of water. Once found I just match it up with the tire. I used to use the toilet to find the leak but, well Mrs. Heisey frowns upon this although I don’t know why. Something about putting ones hands in the toilet. This is not to be done in polite society. “But it’s okay for me to be the household plumber!” Go Figure.
I confirmed the puncture location and I use a tweezer and a dental probe to pick a piece of glass not much bigger than a grain of sand out through the entry wound. The tire has way too much life left according to the wear dimples to be abandoned and so I remove the temporary sticky patch I used to repair things on the side of the road and rubber cement a regular tire patch in its place. I also patch the tube. I’ve had success in the past doing both. Okay so I’m cheap.
When mounting a tire locate the label over the valve stem. This gives you a reference point when trying to located the tire’s puncture. Once the leak is found in the tube just match that up with the tire.
Microscopic fragments cannot always be located or felt using your fingers. However using your glove or your sock you may be able to snag it. Still, removal is difficult especially without the proper tools. I once carried a small multi purpose tool and may want to add one again to my repair kit. The one I had was found with the fishing stuff at Walmart. “Now where did I put that?” It’s probably out in the garage which means I won’t find it until I’m looking for something else. Usually I’ll step into the garage only to forget why.
When you ride through some glass or debris stop and wipe your tires off. Wiping your tires off after the ride is also a great way to avoid flats. The one and only time I had a tire fail at the bead could have been caused by over inflating. Running tires at maximum tire pressure is not necessary. I’m moving more and more towards the recommended minimum these days with no signs of performance drop. I run 25 mm and anything over 105 psi will causes the bike to bounce. Bouncing is a performance loss. Why do I feel that I’m preachin’ to the choir!
Remember this? The tire destroyed by the large pile of glass in the northbound State Road 41Harbor Bridge bike lane back in November? If you recall I submitted a claim to FDOT for the damages. I heard nothing for awhile but eventually I received a letter and then a 2nd one. I don’t recall much from the 1st one but the 2nd one stated that the whole thing had been investigated and had been turned over to the FDOT Risk Management Department and stated that if I had any questions to call such and such and so I did. The phone rings and some petty functionary picks up who needs to pass me along up the food chain to someone who can assist. Turns out to be The Risk Management Manager. Now we’re getting somewhere! I’m in the locked box! This guy signs the checks! He tells me that the results of the investigation had not reached his desk but if I email him the particulars he’d get out in front of it. Okay now we’re emailing each other…….NICE. I send him everything, case number, photos, a receipt and a description of the event and last week I receive a check from FDOT. Now before you go off on me for wasting tax payers dollars let me just say that they, whoever they are, have been funded to sweep the Harbor Bridges weekly. The bike lanes are travel lanes and are to be maintained. Yes I understand that within minutes of being swept they can be trashed again until the next sweeping. Trust me this has not been the case. I ride the bridges as much as anyone and I can tell you the same trash lingers for weeks and weeks. I suggested to the state guy that maybe it was time for an audit. Anyway the check is in hand and I’m going to chalk it up as tough love for FDOT. Maybe they’ll check into the weekly sweeping if only to avoid dealing with a pain in the ass like me. MAYBE.
I neglected to mention that recently a Black Racer moved into the garage and I knock a beer over. That’s 2. I wonder what the 3rd one will be. Actually the black snake living in the garage ain’t a terrible thing. It’ll keep the other varmints at bay but the the spilled beer! Now that’s alcohol abuse.
2/24/2016: Today the 3rd bad thing in this latest go round showed up. The drivers side window regulator in my old truck somehow twisted itself into a pretzel. Am I now off the hook? Was that actually the 3rd bad thing! Depends on if the black snake moving in is good or bad.