Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Rainy Day Flats (or This is Gonna Suck)

I've had flats while cycling and have had to walk some distances, so I know what it's like. I've even tried the "tie the tube in a knot trick" - it doesn't work. I've also had complete strangers just give me a tube (talk about a humbling experience) so I'm pretty sympathetic to most people in need of a little help. This weekend I ran into the two following situations:

Saturday I ran into a man was stopped and fiddling with his rear tire. Since I was at the end of a 40 mile ride I slowed down a bit and asked him if he needed any tools or a pump. "I need a tube," he said, emphasizing the tube part. "I've got a pump and a patch.." I offered, thinking he had run out of CO2. He something about "a problem with the side wall.. and it wouldn't help, but thanks anyway." So I rode on thinking "gee, some people really have hang-ups about patching tubes". As I pedaled along it suddenly hit me.. He didn't have a tube! He had tubeless tires and a problem with the sidewall was keeping it from sealing properly so a patch wouldn't have done him any good without a tube to patch. Der! Now I get it! Had I understood the situation in the 3.5 seconds in which our conversation in passing took place I would have told him that just around the bend was a garbage can where he could probably find a tube in pretty good condition, needing maybe a single patch. Garbage cans along bike paths are used tube repositories, because, some people really do have hang-ups about patching tubes. Unfortunately I was too far ahead by now to convey that bit of wisdom and my left knee was not about to let me do another 3 mile loop to circle back around. Shortly thereafter he was able to procure a tube from another roadie and I presume finish his ride without having to call for SAG support.

The other situation was two guys out riding in the rain on Sunday. They were pretty much the only other cyclists I saw on the Veloway that afternoon since the temperature was around 56 degrees and it had been steadily drizzling rain all day. I saw them riding along on a couple of laps and eventually caught up to them as they were now walking. Not really wanting to stop and lose what little body heat I had generated, I still asked if they needed any help. Hey, it was the proper thing to do. One of them pointed to his rear tire and said he had a flat. "Is is tubeless," I asked with Saturday's Duh Moment still fresh on my mind. "I'm not sure what it is," he said, adding "it's a rental," as if that should explain it all. "We've already called for someone to pick us up, but thanks anyway," the other guy said, perhaps sensing my desire to keep moving. So I waved at both of them and rode on. Man, what a miserable walk back to the parking lot (and wait for a ride) that must have been. But, I bet as they sit around talking over a couple of beers it'll be one of those things that start with "Remember that time we..."

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