My current schedule is to bike to work on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So Tuesday I went out to the bike to pump up my tires. I rotated the rear wheel to get the nozzle in the right place and…
“Hmm… that’s strange.”
There was a staple stuck in the tire, one prong jammed neatly into the tire. I pulled it out, and saw that the tire was flat. Was it flat before I pulled the staple out? I dunno, but even so I wasn’t going to bike to work with a staple in my tire and get a flat halfway in.
My thought process then went something like this:
- I could change the tube myself, but I’m not very good at it. It’d probably take me about 20 minutes to change it.
- Then I’d be getting into work pretty late (even by my lights), so I’d better drive.
- If I drive, should I then change the tube myself tonight, or shall I be lazy and take the wheel to the shop and get it fixed?
- I’m going to be lazy. Then I can have them check the tire to see if it’s still otherwise sound, too.
- Of course, if I never change flats myself, then I’m never going to get any better at it.
- Then again, I don’t really want to get so many flats that I get that much practice…
(I find changing the tube to be difficult mainly when trying to start getting the tire off, or finish putting it on; the tension is pretty strong, and I just don’t have the right technique or something, because I always stress my fingers at those points, and struggle with it until it finally pops out or pops back on. A pain in the ass, really.)
Two additional ironies: When I had my bike in to change a different flat a few weeks ago (due to the tire rupturing around the nozzle because I’d twisted the screw that holds the nozzle in place too far) he said my tires are pretty impenetrable. Apparently not completely impenetrable (maybe the staple just missed hitting the kevlar lining, or maybe biking on it drove it through). Second, we’d gone by the bike shop on Saturday to have the gears on Debbi’s bike adjusted; had I known about the staple then, I could have brought the wheel in at the same time.
Anyway, I took the wheel in after work on Tuesday and it was fixed in 15 minutes (so… maybe it would have taken me even longer to fix it myself?), and the wheel checked out. So I biked in again on Thursday and it help up like a champ. (And the wheel itself, which I had replaced last year with a beefier model because the spokes kept breaking, has done wonderfully this year, as well.)
bbum suggested that I get some slime-filled tubes for my bike. So I might try that. Although honestly I don’t get many flats these days, so it would just be an extra layer of insurance. But maybe.
Biking has otherwise been going well this year, aside from flat-tire mishaps and issues with getting ill or our late-season rains. I think I’ll easily eclipse my mileage from last year.