Saturday, December 5, 2015

Last Flats of the Year..These Aren't the Double F's That I was Looking For

The Fixtation at work.  This I like!

The more you ride the greater the chances that a tire will go flat.  This week we had two bikes that went flat on the same day.  I'm thinking the odds for another flat tire in 2015 are now very, very slim but we still have about another 1000 miles left between us for the year.

Tuesday was Two Flats For Tuesday Day.  Paranoid about snow and ice we took the "winter" commuters.  Mine, the trusty Red Phoenix, the battered 2008 Trek FX 7.5 that only gets ridden in the worst of it and rebuilt, shoddily every October/November.  Its studded tires never come off and they are still good for Winter III.  Mary rode the Bianchi Boardwalk with the impractical Tiki bars and a worn out set of cheap Chinese studded tire.  Sure, the studs are gone on it but the tread is excellent for snow and mud and perhaps ice.  Maybe not taking a wooden bridge at speed on an icy morning as her crash indicated but those tires proved to be decent when the bike was just a hack for going to the store pulling a Burley.

Nothing unusual about the 15 mile ride to work except the giant F150 in our neighborhood had a window smashed out.  8 hours later I found Red laying on its side at the bike rack.  Totally forgot to use the kickstand and backed it in.  The strong west wind got it.  Picked it up and noticed that the front tire seemed a bit low.  I did have a spare tube, levers and pump on the bike.  I could fix this.  Instead I used the nice bike fixtation that my employer, Farm Bureau, provided for the 6 to 9 people that bike to work.  Today only one other rode to work.  Nice pump but no gauge.  I pumped it until it felt HARD and rolled off.  7 miles later at Hy Vee the tire still felt good.  Loaded groceries into the bags and continued home for 8 more miles without issue.

Once home I showered and dressed in clean clothes and then prepared a Szechuan chicken stir fry dinner.  The phone rang when it was almost ready.  mary.  Normally she would text so this was important.  Yep.  She was 5 miles away from home with a flat tire.  I laughed.  She said she would walk it since all her flat fixing gear was in her other bike.  I said I'd meet her.

The Bianchi.  originally bought it for tooling around town but I added the rack in November to make it a winter bike.  I will probably exchange the handle bars for flat bars for better performance.  Too upright for 30 to 50 mile days.

By the time I reapplied cold weather biking gear and strapped the floor pump to the back of Red and met her she had walked two miles.  I met her at Water Works Park and George Flagg Rd.  We had a great view of the Holly Jolly Lights but that was not our concern.  I pumped her rear tire and hoped it would last.  Then put more air in my front tire for good measure.

We got a half mile.  Damn.  This time I had her stay on the bike while I pumped and then told her to ride as fast as she could go until it was too low to ride.  She got a mile but we only had 2 more to roll.  I rode one handed as the pump was in the other hand.  I'd be damned if I was going to take the time to fix this flat on a cold night when dinner was ready.  Tomorrow she can ride her regular commuter as I was planning to ride mine.

Needless to say we stopped twice more, the last time we were 1/2 mile from home and the air would last.

Santa ordering new tires for the Bianchi.

I put both bikes away.  The next day I ordered a new set of studded tires from Modern Bike.  $132 including the $6.99 for delivery which saves me the hassle of finding the time to pick them up and carrying them home.  Also it guarantees that these tires will not be needed for the remainder of this winter season.  Small price to pay for a warm winter.  We should get 5 seasons out of these tires.

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