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  1. #1
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    Sometimes Bicycling Sucks Swampwater! Or How A Long Ride Can Turn Into A Long Walk!

    All week I've been yearning for the weekend so I could take a nice long bike ride.

    This morning, now that the weekend's here, what did I do?

    I slept in.

    I cleaned my apartment.

    I went grocery shopping.

    I did laundry.

    I surfed the web.

    I really didn't feel like going for a bike ride.

    But while I was doing all this other stuff, there my bike sat leaning against the living room wall, saying "Hey. The weather's beautiful. What about me?"

    So finally about 2:30 I decided to go. I've been wanting to ride up to lake Perris, which is about 5 or 6 miles away, and is a lake that is actually in a sort of crater up on top of a mountain. So I pumped up the tires, filled one water bottle, made sure I had a snack in my panniers and shoved off.

    Rode up to the lake and cruised around, then started back home, figuring to be home around 5:00 PM. That's when things started to go wrong.

    I was riding along in a bike lane, and like most bike lanes alongside busy streets, the bike lane is full of ground-up broken glass and other debris. I managed to hit something that I thought was just a piece of paper, but it turned out to be a piece of a flattened can. I hit it with my front tire, and it kind of flipped up and I then hit it with my rear tire. About 100 feet down the road I started getting this mushy feeling from the back of the bike. My rear tire was going flat.

    No Problemo! I have a spare tube!

    I proceeded to effect a quick rear tire partial dismount and installation of my spare tube. I examined the tube I took out, but couldn't see anything wrong with it.

    As I started inflating the new tube, I kept checking for any problems such as the tube being pinched between the tire and rim. That's when I saw the problem - the sidewall of my tire was sliced! OK, time for the old dollar bill trick.

    Out comes the wallet! Damn! All I've got is a $20!

    But also in my wallet is an appointment card from my eye doctor. I deflate the tube, partially dismount the tire, slip the business card in, remount and re-inflate the tube, slap the wheel back on, pick up my stuff, and I'm on my way.

    About 1 mile later - pop!

    Now I'm screwed! I have two tubes with the sides blown out, and one tire with a cut in the sidewall.

    I start pushing.

    It's already about 5:00 PM.

    I'm down to 1/2 of my water bottle, and it lasted until about 6:00 PM. Then I was dry.

    I pushed the damned bike all the way home, and finally made it about 7:30.

    The only bright spot along the way was I ran into two city cops pulling a security detail at some sort of party. By then I was out of water, and feeling the effects. I asked them if they knew any place where I could get my water bottle filled. They said no, but they had a styrofoam cooler full of ice and water bottles, and they gave me a bottle of water. Thumbs up for the Moreno Valley Police Department.

    I nursed that bottle of water until that last hill before home. Don't think I'd have made it without it.

    Finally got home. Put the bike away. Drank some cold water out of the fridge. Drove to the stop-n-rob and bought a 12 pack of Newcastle.

    Over and Out!
    Steel Club = BF-STL-00064

  2. #2
    Administrator CbadRider's Avatar
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    Glad to see you made it home. You get extra points for having to walk the bike.

    Enjoy the Newcastle!
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    So Tom only hires people that are nutty? Is part of the requirement to be a moderator on this site is that you have to be nuts??
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  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Let me see if I can summarise your story ...

    You cycled 6 miles to a lake. You managed to cycle about 2 miles back, and you had to walk the remaining 4 miles. And it took you 2.5 hours to walk 4 miles?

    Is that correct?

    Many of us have ended up in a situation where we had to walk our bicycles home. Just be glad yours was such a short distance!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Let me see if I can summarise your story ...

    You cycled 6 miles to a lake. You managed to cycle about 2 miles back, and you had to walk the remaining 4 miles. And it took you 2.5 hours to walk 4 miles?

    Is that correct?
    Machka, you evil bastard. How did you managed to read my mind like that?

  5. #5
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    Call a cab, why do you have the $20 anyway?

  6. #6
    Riding twobadfish's Avatar
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    Lol... that sucks. At least you are rewarding yourself for the effort.

    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
    Call a cab, why do you have the $20 anyway?
    Are you asking why someone has money?

  7. #7
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    Well, as I was pushing the bike home, I saw a city bus go by and it had an empty bike rack on the front! Started me thinking that I should carry a copy of the bus schedules in my pannier. I'll work on that today.

    I'm kind of bummed, too, because the ONLY LBS in town is closed on Sunday and Monday, and Wednesday I'm flying back east for Easter. If I don't sneak out of work early on Tuesday, the bike will be down for at least a week!

    I may just go ahead and upgrade the tires. The originals are Kenda, but likely the cheapest black round rubber tire shaped object that Bikes Direct could find. I'm already on the hook for two tubes and one tire. Might as well pony up for one more tire and tube and get something a little more flat-resistant. I have Schwalbe Marathons on my LHT back east - had three flats in a row on the original tires, then zero since I put on the Marathons.

    The bike lanes out here are totally full of debris! I can see how anything that lands on the roadway - leaves, twigs, pieces of rubber and miscellaneous junk that falls off of cars and trucks - gets finely ground up and swept into the bike lanes by motor vehicle traffic, but what is it with the broken glass? The bike lanes absolutely sparkle with ground up nuggets of glass!

    I'm used to riding in Kentucky, where bike lanes are rare but at least the most common road hazard is gravel and mud on the road after a rainstorm, and occasional broken pavement.
    Steel Club = BF-STL-00064

  8. #8
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpelle View Post
    OK, time for the old dollar bill trick.

    Out comes the wallet! Damn! All I've got is a $20!
    Next time use the $20. Its printed on the same paper as a $1 bill so same strength properties.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale Supersix EVO carbon

    I thought of that while riding my bicycle -- Albert Einstein

  9. #9
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonH View Post
    Next time use the $20. Its printed on the same paper as a $1 bill so same strength properties.
    That's what I was thinking too. When I was teaching fix-a-flat classes I told my students it was actually better to use a 20 because you're less tempted to not-fix it properly once you get home.

  10. #10
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    But would the $20 (or a $1 or a $5 or a $10 or a $50) have gotten me home? If so, next time I will use whatever I have. Heck, I'll find a nice new $1 and stash it in my flat-fixing stuff!

    Does anybody make a tire-splinting material that may be better than a currency-based material?
    Steel Club = BF-STL-00064

  11. #11
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
    Call a cab, why do you have the $20 anyway?
    $20 is for the New Castle.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bustercrb/sets/72157623483647522/

  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpelle View Post
    Does anybody make a tire-splinting material that may be better than a currency-based material?
    Tire boots?

  13. #13
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpelle View Post
    But would the $20 (or a $1 or a $5 or a $10 or a $50) have gotten me home? If so, next time I will use whatever I have. Heck, I'll find a nice new $1 and stash it in my flat-fixing stuff!

    Does anybody make a tire-splinting material that may be better than a currency-based material?
    Park tool makes the tire boot, cost per boot is $1-$2. It is specifically made for sidewall and tire repairs. I have never used it but in an emergency, if a dollar works as well then use that since you will get your money back.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bustercrb/sets/72157623483647522/

  14. #14
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    I've had cut tires on two different occasions. Each time, I used a Park Tool tire boot to get me home. The GoJo wipes come in handy as well.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpelle View Post
    I'm kind of bummed, too, because the ONLY LBS in town is closed on Sunday and Monday, and Wednesday I'm flying back east for Easter. If I don't sneak out of work early on Tuesday, the bike will be down for at least a week!
    Jenson USA is open (warehouse in between Moreno Valley and Riverside... which you can call in to order or just show up hoping they have it).
    If you have a car, just 15 minute drive down to Cyclery USA in Riverside is an option too.
    Both of these places open all week.
    Wish I saw this yesterday.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpelle View Post
    But would the $20 (or a $1 or a $5 or a $10 or a $50) have gotten me home? If so, next time I will use whatever I have. Heck, I'll find a nice new $1 and stash it in my flat-fixing stuff!

    Does anybody make a tire-splinting material that may be better than a currency-based material?
    All sorts of things can work. GU packets are free (after they are used). And the Park boot.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 04-17-11 at 02:59 PM.

  17. #17
    Senior Member CNY James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpelle View Post

    Does anybody make a tire-splinting material that may be better than a currency-based material?
    I keep a cut of old tube with me. Seems to work okay and when you get home, you can glue it in place with some Shoe-Goo. (I only do that if it's a small puncture, not if it's a sidewall tear or whatever...)

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by CNY James View Post
    I keep a cut of old tube with me. Seems to work okay and when you get home, you can glue it in place with some Shoe-Goo. (I only do that if it's a small puncture, not if it's a sidewall tear or whatever...)
    Well, for the weight of the cut-up tube, you could carry something that would work for more things.

  19. #19
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Let me see if I can summarise your story ...

    You cycled 6 miles to a lake. You managed to cycle about 2 miles back, and you had to walk the remaining 4 miles. And it took you 2.5 hours to walk 4 miles?

    Is that correct?

    Many of us have ended up in a situation where we had to walk our bicycles home. Just be glad yours was such a short distance!
    I just Mapquested the route I walked - I was actually taking a longer way home than the most direct route when the tire blew. The distance that I walked was more like 6-1/2 miles, which accounted for the 2-1/2 hours, including the initial flat-fixing session.

    I just ordered a set of Park Tool Tire Boots, so maybe I'll be better prepared next time.

    Actually I've been riding (again) for about 4 years, and this is only the second time I've been stranded on the road with a flat. I did have two times when, for whatever reason, I got home from a ride but the next day had a flat. Never could figure that one out.

    In the past, when I went into the LBS to buy a spare tube, the bike shop guy laughed and called it a flat-prevention tube. He said that as long as you carried a spare tube, you would never need it. Goes to show what he knows!
    Steel Club = BF-STL-00064

  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpelle View Post
    I just Mapquested the route I walked - I was actually taking a longer way home than the most direct route when the tire blew. The distance that I walked was more like 6-1/2 miles, which accounted for the 2-1/2 hours, including the initial flat-fixing session.

    Actually I've been riding (again) for about 4 years,
    You've been riding for 4 years and you still consider a 12 mile round trip bicycle ride a "long" ride??

    You've got to start upping your distances! First get new tires ... then start upping your distances. You can go a lot longer than that!

  21. #21
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    I bet you thought that you'd get more sympathy. This is a tough group but it's still not as hard core as "Road Cycling".

  22. #22
    Senior Member tpelle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    You've been riding for 4 years and you still consider a 12 mile round trip bicycle ride a "long" ride??

    You've got to start upping your distances! First get new tires ... then start upping your distances. You can go a lot longer than that!
    I'm just getting back in the saddle again after a year and a half off with a broken knee. Prior to that I would routinely ride 30+ miles.

    I'm out here (Moreno Valley, CA) on a six to nine month work assignment. Bought the bike to start reconditioning the knee and to start to work off the 25 or so pounds that I put on during my enforced inactivity. When you're 58 years old, it seems like there's a lot of inertia to overcome to get and stay active - too easy to get in the company-provided car for every little trip, when you don't even have to pay for gas out of your own pocket.

    Also,I'm still learning my way around the area, and since my wife (my support group) is 2200 miles away, I'm a little bit cautious as to where and when I ride. If I had been home (Kentucky) I would have just called her on my cell phone and she would have driven the pickup out to rescue me.

    But this episode taught me some important lessons.
    Steel Club = BF-STL-00064

  23. #23
    Insane Bicycle Mechanic Jeff Wills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doctor j View Post

    I've had cut tires on two different occasions. Each time, I used a Park Tool tire boot to get me home. The GoJo wipes come in handy as well.
    I carry Park Tire boots, too. It didn't help me this day: http://home.comcast.net/~jeff_wills/...s/rites042.htm
    Jeff Wills

    All my bikes.

  24. #24
    Senior Member CNY James's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    Well, for the weight of the cut-up tube, you could carry something that would work for more things.
    the cut of tube will work for a tear in the sidewall, i mean i only bother gluing it to the inside of the tire for small punctures. tear in sidewall would mean new tire.

    and what kind of tubes are you carrying that would weigh you down? I'm talking about bringing along a 2-3" cut of tube. What does that weigh, 2 grams?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    Well, for the weight of the cut-up tube, you could carry something that would work for more things.
    Not that long ago (under circumstances I rather not go into) I put a hole on the side of a brand-new Vredestein Fortezza tire. I tried a tube patch but it just blew right through it. The perfect fix was with a 1"x1" piece of heavyweight canvas that I glued in place. Since then I just keep a few square inches of canvas on my tube repair kit.

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