Today I had my first flat tire. It worked out well, actually. I got up, planning to ride to town, walked over to my bike, sitting inside my warm house, and, as always, felt both tires, before heading out. Whoops. No air in one. Now how did that happen?
I am unable to read and interpret written instructions, perhaps an Aspergers thing, I don’t know. I experimented with the ‘quick release’ lever on the tire, flipped it over, and unscrewed the thing on the opposite side, taking the axle apart. Probably as it is ‘quick release’ I shouldn’t need to take the whole thing apart, but who knows? The only thing people say to me, about changing a tire is ‘it is easy’. No, it isn’t, if you don’t know how.
Later a friend dropped by, and sat and told me how to take the tire off, which also included loosening the brake cables. Used the tools I have to take the tire off, and the tube off. Pumped air into the tube. There is some secret about attaching the pump to the tire, which I do not know, but somehow we accidently managed to put air into the tube.
Put the tube into a sink full of water, and slowly squished the tube all around, finally finding a place where air bubbled out. Drew a circle around the little hole in the tube, so the hole could be found again. Patched the hole.
I carefully felt around on the inside of the tire, for anything that was protruding, which may have been the cause of the hole. Nothing. Looked all around the outside edge of the tire, in case I could find, or feel anything which may have been the cause of the hole. Yes!! A teeny, teeny bit of glass. It was in the right part of the tire, and maybe it was larger before it got jammed into the tire, and then made the hole in the tube.
It was very hard to put the tube, and the tire back onto the metal wheel, but I, or, we, did it. I think it takes a lot of strength, or maybe coordination. Also, maybe practice.
Put the tire back on, got the axle on, and got the brake cable back on.
I think the back tire would be harder, especially with Vinnie’s cage, the pannier rack, and panniers on it. Tipping the bike upside down would probably make it easier, but it would need to balance on top of Vinnie’s cage.
I have been told by a bike shop in White Rock, that if I stop in, they will show me how to do this, and that was my plan, and hopefully I can do this tomorrow.
It has been raining furiously, and then blazing sun, then POURING rain, then blasting sun, then both at the same time. My iPhone says it should be sunny, and no rain tomorrow. I hope to do a long ride to this bike shop, making it into 30 miles, hauling 20 pounds of water, in the Bob trailer. Hopefully they will watch me, while I change the back tire. I want to do this a few times, to at least feel a little more secure knowing that I can (maybe) change a tire.
I think maybe I also need to know how to replace a spoke or two. I am following the blog of ‘Jeremy’ as he rides across the USA… with no helmet. He is heading west, and is now in Kentucky. Part of his bike just seized up, and his tire and pedals would not turn. I have no idea why this happened, but I would at least like to know a few things about bike first aid.
Then, on June 23rd, in Vancouver, there is a Mountain Equipment Coop bike fest, where they are doing a demo on this type of thing, I guess. I want to go to that. It might mean putting my bike on the front of a bus, going to the rapid transit (Skytrain) and carrying my bike on that, to Vancouver. They have ‘Bike Valet’ there, which is a free place that you can safely put your bike, while you walk around. I’d like to do that, as that would all be valuable experience.
Also, if it stays sunny for a bit, I want to set up the tent, for practice, and light the stove, making sure I know how to do this stuff. Makes it less stressful when it really counts!
Ok, that’s it. Let’s hope I can go to the bike place tomorrow, and learn a bit more.