Posts Tagged ‘flats’

Riding on the rims

January 13, 2020

My old bro’ Dr. Schenkenstein practices the mystical art of puncture resolution during a February 2011 ride around Bibleburg.

Do you remember when you learned how to fix a flat?

I don’t. But I’m pretty sure that in my first incarnation as a cyclist I served my time as one of those guys you occasionally see trudging gloomily along, pushing a bike, instead of spending a few moments at roadside swapping tubes and getting back after the riding of the thing.

No doubt some lucky shop handled flats for me until I got “serious” about cycling in the mid-Eighties. I didn’t have any mentors, or friends who were deeply into the sport, so I read every bike magazine and book I could lay my hands on and got my basic training and maintenance tips from a distance as I moved around from job to job, town to town, Pueblo to Colorado Springs to Denver to Española to Santa Fe, where I finally joined my first club and started taking instruction the hard way.

Flats, it seemed, were part of the price of admission to the game. You want to play? You got to pay. It’s like taking your pulls, or sharing food, water and kit as circumstances dictate. Sooner or later you have to give it up. Patch it up. Whatevs.

It’s no big deal. Unless you have been seduced by what the engineers call “progress,” fixing a flat on the fly is not rocket surgery or brain science. Open the brake caliper, flip the quick release, remove the wheel, pry off the bead, remove the old tube, check to make sure that whatever violated its integrity is no longer in the tire, install the new tube, inflate, replace the wheel, close the QR and caliper, stuff the flat tube in a jersey pocket, and get on about your business. Easy peasy. Even the Irish can manage it.

Of course, they’d have to make a short story out of it. Perhaps a song. Or maybe a podcast.

A podcast?

Yes, yes, yes — pull out your patch kits and push in the earbuds, it’s time for another thumb-fingered edition of Radio Free Dogpatch.

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with an Audio-Technica AT2035 microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder. I altered the recording setup a bit, breaking out an old Auray reflection filter to help isolate the large-diaphragm condenser mic, then edited the hot mess using Apple’s GarageBand on the 13-inch 2014 MacBook Pro. The background music is “Out of Step” and “In His Own Way” from Zapsplat.com. The rim shot is from xtrgamr at Freesound.org, which also supplied the pop! (gniffelbaf) and the squeaky chain (Jamesrodavidson), because you just know that a pro like me would never, ever have a squeaky chain. Yeah, right.

If you prick us, do we not leak?

August 28, 2016
Medicine, Buddha.

Medicine, Buddha.

Flats. Gah, etc.

The goatheads are after me again. Seems as though I can go for months without a puncture and then suddenly it’s pow, pow, pow. Or, more accurately, pssssshhhhhhh, hissssssssss, fyyyyisssssss.

This rhymes with “bliss,” but is not synonymous.

The smart Duke City cyclist runs goo-filled inner tubes or some tubeless setup to avoid needless pedestrianism. But as you know I will never be smart, so I generally wait for a puncture to replace a standard tube with a gooey one. And sometimes even then I’ll just patch the hole and drive on.

If cycling were really the new golf I’d have a caddy to do this for me, or some sycophantic huckster eager for my thoughts on his notion for a left-handed smartphone. “Just try to keep up, punk,” I’d sneer, and of course he couldn’t. It’s a Mad Dog-eat-dog world.

Yesterday I found a slow leak in the rear tire of the Sam Hillborne — it’s always the rear, isn’t it? — and instead of taking the usual half measures I instantly replaced both inner tubes with goopy tubes. Take that, goatheads. Y’pricks.