Saturday, May 12, 2007

Rear Wheels

I'm going through these things like they're candy.

I had an old but fairly nice set of wheels, which came with my second-hand bike. The rear wheel went out of true, so Speedy brought it over to the bike shop, where he was told by the fairly surprised mechanic that the hub was actually cracked, and since it's an older wheel that's no longer made, finding the replacement part would take some effort. (This also explains why my last trainer ride was so crappy; the wheel was rubbing against the brake the whole time.)

So, for the long ride this weekend, we swapped the cracked wheel for my trainer wheel, which has served me well thus far. But, lo and behold, 28 miles into a 32 mile ride I got a flat. Fortunately, it wasn't a blowout or anything, but a slow leak, enough that it had to be changed before I could continue. Which brings me to...

Changing a flat tire in a gravel patch on the side of the road is a whole hell of a lot different than changing a flat tire in your kitchen. Especially when there are two people watching you and waiting for you to finish.

Needless to say, it didn't go quite as smoothly as I would have hoped. I promptly overinflated the first tube, which exploded with a spectacular bang. By this point, the nice guy who had latched onto Speedy and my wheels for the first part of the ride took over and ran a quick Flat Fixing 101 clinic for us. He got the (now-shredded) tube out and a fresh one in in just a couple of minutes, and we were back on the road. No problem, right?

Two miles later, BANG! My tire goes again, and this time it was a blowout. Yikes! Fortunately, it was the rear tire so I didn't lose my steering or anything and was able to stop safely. It took a little longer to get this flat fixed, because it seemed that the problem was with the wheel itself and the way it was rubbing against the tire valve. But, after a little while longer, and all of the cartridges and tubes that all three of us were carrying, we were back on the road to finish out the last 2 miles of our ride. Whew! We got back safe and sound and no worse for the wear. My rear wheel, on the other hand, will be getting a good once-over with some sandpaper and may be heading back to the trainer soon, if I can find a cheap-enough replacement rear wheel or wheelset.

So flatting at any time sucks, but this wasn't too bad. It was a nice day, we weren't in a huge rush, there was someone more knowledgable than us who was totally willing to teach us, and we all finished in one piece. And now I'm much more comfortable with fixing a flat. Not bad, not bad at all.

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