Drive My Bike

Darn Flat Tires!
June 18, 2008, 8:53 am
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I have experienced two flat tires within my last five rides.  I hope that ratio doesn’t continue!  The worst part is that the holes in the tube were in similar places both times… on the rim side of the tube!  This means they weren’t caused by road hazards, they were caused by something on the rim.  The first time I visually inspected the rim, and ran my fingers around the area, I couldn’t feel anything that would cause a flat.  This time, I actually removed the rubber strip that covers the spoke holes, and inspected everything again, but I still didn’t see or feel anything obvious.  I did take a file and smoothed over ever spot I could find that looked that least bit suspicious, so I hope that will make some kind of difference.

One of the frustrating parts was that when I put everything back together and pumped up the tire… I heard air leaking again… and realized that my patch was not holding.  Argh!  So I took everything apart again, and just replaced the tube completely.  I now have two leaky tubes that need patching… but I don’t trust those “stick on” patches that I was using.  I’m going to buy an old school glue on patch kit, and then I’ll fix those tubes, and keep one with me as a spare.

Both of these flats were on my rear wheel.  I weigh around 200 lbs, and I carry a pannier that is loaded with about 15-20 lbs of gear, which means my rear wheel is carrying most of that weight.  I’ve been very careful to make sure that my tires are at the correct pressure, and I’ve even tried to keep that rear one filled about 5 lbs over spec since I’ve noticed the rear tire seems to compress down a lot while I’m riding, especially up hills.  I really don’t think these were pinch flats, because they both were a single distinct hole, and both on the rim side.  If this keeps up I’m going to try one of those heavy duty tubes to see if that will make a difference.

Do any of you out there have any flat tire wisdom to share?  Have flats been much of an issue with your rides?  Do you carry an extra tube all the time?  Have you had success with those “stick on” patches, or do you use the old school glue on kind?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

UPDATE: I think I fixed my tire issues. Go here to see the solutions I ended up with.

A Couple Good Rides
June 16, 2008, 9:40 am
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If you’ve read my last couple of posts you probably realized that I felt like I really blew myself out on my ride home last Tuesday night.  It was the first time I’ve ridden that late at night (midnight) and I was also really tired from the events of the day.  What suprised me most was how much that challenging ride negatively affected my desire to ride.  I was going to ride to work on Friday, but I bailed out at the last minute and went back to bed for a little more sleep.  I was in a slump and had to figure a way out…

So, yesterday (Father’s Day) I realized I needed to make a run to Home Depot and the grocery store, and I decided to ride my bike.  This was a pretty major challenge mentally, because the start of that route is a pretty steep uphill climb, and then the rest of the route is a mild uphill.  I decided to go for it, as much to prove that I could do it as to just get a good ride in.  The beginning of the ride was tough, but not as tough as I expected it to be.  I got my shopping done, and then enjoyed the benefits of a downhill ride all the way home.  Awesome!  I was out of my slump!

This morning’s ride into work carried on the good vibes that I had stirred up yesterday, and I even shaved a few minutes off my standard ride time.  Woo hoo!  I’ve got another evening meeting tonight, which means another nighttime ride home.  Hopefully I can keep the good vibes flowing for that ride tonight.

Is this slump thing normal?  Have you experienced a kind of ebb and flow in your joy of riding?