Ever feel like no matter what you do, no matter how much you try, you just can’t win some days? Welcome to my life the other day! It started out with me being very tired, like 3 cups of coffee and I am still yawning tired. What I have learned about myself is that on those days, my food choices SUCK! This day was no exception, and included big bowl of cereal, brats, ice cream bar, and more. I knew if I didn’t do something, there would be nothing left to eat for the rest of the week. I needed to do SOMETHING to get out of the kitchen.
I made a choice that I later came to regret, I decided to go biking. I get the trailer out, the bike out, the kids dressed, diaper bag loaded, water bottles filled, and go to pump the tires. Well I quickly find out that the left wheel on the trailer is flat. Ugh, really? No biggie though, I am at home and it will be a quick fix. My oldest liked watching me fix it and was done in about 15 min. Before I forget, I also moved the cleats on my shoes further towards the heel. This was recommended by a LBS to help with some knee pain. I was excited to give it a try, but for some reason I only did one shoe (still tired I guess).
Son: “Daddy, you forgot my backpack! I need my toys!”
Me: “You won’t need them, this will be a quick ride. Just sit back and enjoy the ride”
Crisis averted, and after about 3 miles my left leg is hurting but the right wasn’t. I decided to go ahead and stop to switch out the other one. I pull out my biking multi-tool and flip open the hex-wrenches. Doesn’t fit. Ok next size! Doesn’t fit. Ok NEXT size! Really doesn’t fit. None of them fit, and I was going to be stuck with the shoes like this till I got home. I tried one more, it wasn’t a hex-wrench but it was able to sorta work. I quickly moved them and burnt some rubber to make up some time.
Thumpty, thumpty, thumpty, what is that noise? I look at the trailer, and it’s coming from the left wheel. I figured something just must be clinging against it and decided to wait till the next road crossing to move what ever it was.
It was flat again, and this time it was right by a busy road. That meant the kids couldn’t get out to play while I fixed it. Had I stopped originally when the sound started, I could have gone to the playground. Argh. The only bit of luck I had was this was a trail parking area. I was able to set them on top of a parking spot concrete thingy (what are they called?). I get my patch kit out, pull the wheel off, get the tube out and try and find the hole. While doing this I am also hearing my son whine in my ear about getting out. I reminded him that it wouldn’t be long and we would hit the road! I was wrong, dear god was I wrong.
After about 5 min. I finally locate the whole, and it turned out to be from the exact same spot as the other one. When I changed it before, I thought it was a clean puncture, but it really was a small piece of glass embedded into it. No biggie, and I quickly get it patched with a glue-less patch (love them). I pull out my frame pump and get to work. Pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, what the hell is going on? This pump had great reviews, and is a dual action. It should be done already, but when I stopped I figured out what was wrong, another hole.
Funny thing about holes in bike tubes is that they are like real estate: Location, Location, Location! I just got the “death hole”, the whole was a small rip at the base of the valve stem. I knew a patch wouldn’t do the trick, but being prepared I had some electrical tape wrapped around my wrench. Huzzah! I wrap it up, remount the tire/tube on the rim and get to pumping; admittedly feeling a bit proud how I solved it so easily. Pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, pump, crap. It wasn’t holding ARGH! At this point about 15 people had gone past me, with only 2 stopping to ask if I needed help. I had declined both of their offers, confident that I could take care of a little hole. I try more tape, patches, and start even thinking about stuffing grass into (this was a recommendation I received on a facebook group).
It had been at least an hour at this point and I break down and text my wife. I ask if she can get off work early or not? No reply. At this point I have 3 options I can think of:
1. Walk home (about 4 miles) with a flat tire and having the kids walk. I would have to be pushing the bike and watching them at the same time.
2. Call my friend who I think has a mini-van. He lives about 30 min away though and has his own kids he stays home with.
3. Wait for my wife to get off work in 2 hours or so.
As I am contemplating this, and debating it my mind, another person stops. This man asks if I need help? I quickly responded that yes I do need help. He said that he should have a spare tube back at the house and would be back shortly. I thanked him profusely as he left and waited for his return. It felt like an hour but he had come back, but he didn’t have a tube. Instead, he was running to the store to buy one for me and would again return shortly. He also brought ice cold water and snacks for me and the boys. After having so many people (including a bicycle cop) go right on pass me, it was nice to receive the kindness. I had no money on me to give him and he left before I could even bring it up. When he returned he had one request, that I tell folks that not everyone from Illinois is an asshole.
Not everyone from Illinois is an asshole!
I quickly got the tire fixed, being very careful with it this time and went straight home. I was beat and didn’t want to make dinner, so instead ordered pizza and relaxed the rest of the evening.
So in closing, thank you to those who stopped, and not everyone from Illinois is an asshole 🙂
Keep on Rolling (because flats suck!),
Big Boned Biker