With a little help from my friends

I thought I knew how to change a flat, and I do, but last Saturday I learned a lot more. I learned how to do it with the help of friends.

It was the first official FOG ride of the year and we were about 45 minutes in and just about to turn off Main St back onto River Road and the bike was feeling a little funny. Just after the turn it was for sure the dreaded flat on a group ride. Protocol has everyone stop and wait for the flat to get fixed, so there is a little pressure to get it done quickly.

Flying through the change the tube is out, wheel and tire checked quickly and new tube installed an re-inflated. Just as I’m putting the wheel back on the bike I notice it’s flat again!

Lesson #1: Be quick and careful.

One of my friends has a very close look at the tire by turning it inside out and flexing it back. This process discovers a small piece of glass which is pried out. Now we’re ready for another tube.

Lesson #2: Have lots of the right tubes.

I have a 2nd tube with a short stem and the new rear wheel with the Powertap has a deep rim. Friends to the rescue as I’m given a tube. A quick but careful tube and tire assembly followed by a CO2 inflation and we’re good to go.

Another 30-40 minutes go by and it happens again! Another flat! Frustrated I call for a pickup but the friends insist that they will help get me on the road again. A close look at the wheel shows that the rim tap has moved leaving 3 exposed spoke holes that most likely caused the tube to puncture. Another friend supplies the solution with self adhesive tube patches to cover over the spoke holes. Another friend supplies another tube and while inflating with a borrowed frame pump because i left mine at home, I hear the dreaded psssssss sound. The metal valve stem has snapped! Unbelievable!
I’m given another tube and this time all goes well and were back on the road.

Lesson #3: Know your equipment.

The rest of the ride was uneventful. I’m the only one who flatted, the only one to delay the ride, twice, both for an extraordinarily long time.

Lesson #4: Always ride with friends.

Thanks to everyone who helped me get through the ride, gave me tubes, patches, pumps and offered encouragement. Thanks to all who waited patiently.

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