My rear wheel has an affinity for metal spikes. Yesterday as I was biking to work I chanced to look down at the sidewalk and see the remains of a glass bottle and thought to myself, "wow that could pop my tires." Less than a minute later I start feeling a rumbly feeling from underneath me. I dismount and discovered my rear wheel had no air. Even with running part of the rest of the way to work I was still late. Biking uses different muscles than running and I rarely run anywhere anymore. Anyhow, when I get to work I find a small metal spike in my tire. Not too unlike the last heavy wire that flattened me a long time ago. This inner tube is puncture resistant so it takes something nasty to get it.
In any case when I get back home I try to patch the tube. But it is not destined to go smoothly. One of my break pads is apparently cracked and despite my care it actually seems to come apart while I disengage the wheel. Then when I try to remove the inner tube I forgot (or did I never learn?) that the stem where the air is pumped in can be a little stuck in the rim of the wheel. Though I was trying to be gentle I manage to rip the inner tube right off the stem. So much for a patch job. To add insult to injury as I pull the tube out the last patch job (from the last time I got spiked) tears loose. Once I get the rest of the tube out I find another metal wire in my tube. So even if I hadn't ripped my stem off I would have needed 3 patches to fix it (one to repair the existing patch, one for the spike I found at work, and one for the wire) and I only have 2 patches left, so this tube was a gonner one way or another. After doing the customary search for additional sharp objects poking through the tire I fit one of my old tubes back in the wheel. I don't have any puncture resistant spares so I'd be a sitting duck for the thorns that litter this town. As one of my coworkers put it I might last on the way to the grocery store but not on the way back home. Before putting it back on I proceed to pump it back up. Wrong move. A fully inflated back tire is next to impossible to get on and off, at least when the break joints are stiff with dust and mud. So I take the air back out and put the wheel on. I finally get it screwed into position and start to reinflate it. During a break I try to give the wheel an experimental spin and it gets stuck. Closer inspection reveals that a lip of the tire that was firmly in the rim to start with decided to jump out. So I let the air out, reposition the tire in the rim, and reinflate. Then I realize I forgot to position the chain. So then I deinflate the wheel and remove it, put the chain back on properly this time and then reinflate it. By this time I'm tired of using the tiny hand pump I have for roadside emergencies and dig out my wifes full sized airpump. In no time I've got it up to pressure, which on this bike is 40-65 PSI. I'm really tired of pumping by now so I only bother pumping it to 45, though since I don't off road at all 65 would be better. I stand up, stretch, and listen with dismay as a swoosh of air comes out of the tire. I'm back to square one.
By this time I'm seriously sick of the entire business. Instead of tearing it apart again to see if my earlier patch job failed (this non puncture resistant tube had its share of thorns before I replaced it), whether I missed something poking through the tire, or whether I popped it myself by pinching it with my tools while I seated the tire in the rim... I just took it into the shop since the breaks needed fixing anyways. Theoretically, I'll be wheeling around again by the day after tomorrow.
2 weeks ago