Saturday, November 2, 2013

Don't Fear the Flat Reaper

After getting 3 to 4 flats in September, both on the street and trail, I've finally made my peace with flats.  They're going to happen. Might as well just fix it without drama and get moving again.  Sure, I could switch to a really really puncture resistant tire, but I'm not sure if even those stop the size of nails, screws, glass, and thorns we have in the streets sometimes.  Might as well just expect a flat and be ready for it.  The last one I was surprised how easy it was - find the puncture, get one side of the tire off, pull tube out partway, patch it. Wait a few minutes. Clean hands with wipes that I finally remembered to carry. Pump up the tire and go.  Of course, this was a nice, sunny day.  Might want to ask me how I feel when it happens in a torrential downpour.

Usually when a tire flats, I curse the bad luck and a hundred calculations/thoughts run through my brain...will enough air stay in the tire and I can make it work, fix the flat during lunch? Damn, gonna get my hands greasy! Can I make it to a bus stop and make it to work on time? I'm gonna be late! Hope my pump is in the bag. Hey, these tires have a kevlar belt, they're supposed to stop this sort of thing, it's just a tiny little nail!

A couple good things came out of those September flats. All that practice made me quicker at it. And I finally got to fix a flat on the Pugsley N/R in the comfort of the backyard and discovered it wasn't too bad.  (got a slow leak out on the trail somewhere.)  I'd heard people had trouble with the horizontal dropouts, but got the tire off the bike without too much trouble.  The bead of the tire seemed stuck on the rim until I got the air completely out of the tire and then it broke the seal.  Fixing a flat on the Pugs for the first time made me feel less anxious about getting a puncture out in the boondocks 20 miles away from nowhere.

I might still put some sealant in the fat tires, I think they're heavy enough to where a little extra weight won't matter, and the tubes have the removable core type presta valves making it easier.  For commuting, I'm just going to take my chances and try to avoid the street debris, knowing that eventually I'll feel that crazy little wobble in the bike handling that means damn another flat!

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