November is generally the time of year that I put my recumbent commuter aside and ride my "Foul Weather" Trek mountain bike instead. Last night that worked out to my advantage.
I work 12.5 hour shifts, two day shifts followed by two night shifts, every week. I leave the house by bike at 4:00 (a.m/p.m.) and leave work for home at 5:30 (a.m./p.m.). This time of the year my commute is in the dark both going to work and coming home on the day shift. On the night shift it's dark on the ride home and fading daylight on the way to work. My day shifts are very difficult for me as I'm always very, very tired. Conversly, I find the night shifts to be very easy and I'm generally wide awake. I guess I'm nocturnal by nature.
O.K. Enough background information...here's the story.
While riding my Trek home from work last night I ran into a little problem about 1 1/2 miles from home. I felt the back of the bike getting a bit wishy washy. A quick check verified that I was losing air from my rear tire.
I had figured that I had enough air left to easily reach a nerarby, well lit main road before I'd be riding on the rim. I made it with some time to spare and rode a couple more blocks before the tire was completely flat.
So here I am, about 1 1/4 miles from home with a flat rear tire. I'm dead tired. It's dark but I am under street lights and I can use my portable headlight as a flashlight. It's dry and peaceful with temperatures in the low 60's.
I had some options;
* I could stop and repair the tire along the side of the road. I really didn't feel like doing that, I was really tired.
* I could get off the bike and walk it the rest of the way home. Again, I was really tired and anxious to get home.
* I could keep pumping air into the tire every few blocks.
* The tires are quite old Geax Street Runners and I'm shopping for replacements, but they're not so worn that I would just keep on riding flat possibly destroying the tire and damaging the wheel.
Had I been on my recumbent, I would have either fixed the flat then and there or walked the bike home. But I was on my Trek and had yet one more option. I opted to stand on the pedals and put as much of my 220 lbs. over the handlebar as possible thus un-weighting the rear of the bike. I rode slowly the rest of the way home supporting my weight up front on the bar and letting the lightened rear just follow along. The tire was none the worse for wear and the wheel was totally unscathed.
I had a nice relaxing dinner and then retreated to my well lit garage, put the bike up on my repair stand, removed the back wheel, and repaired the flat while comfortably seated on a chair listening to classic rock on the radio. I had no risk of loosing any tools in the grass by the road, I was comfortable, I had cold beer, I was happy.
I was sure glad to have been upright, at least last night anyway!