Friday, June 1, 2007

Beware: Glass at Rt. 29 intersection

I guess I crowed about my brand new "flat proof" kevlar-banded tires too soon. When I went to get my bike out for the ride home last night the rear tire was flat as a pancake. Why is it always the rear tire? Anyway, I wheeled it into an out-of-the-way spot and we eyed each other warily for a moment. Then I went through my little tool bag and got out two plastic tire levers and a patch kit. I managed to disengage the brake and, after some exceptionally black and greasy maneuvers, got the wheel off the bike. Then I spent 15 minutes or so trying to get the tire off the rim, I even got an assist from another biologist who rides in. He couldn't budge it either but we did answer the question that has plagued philosphers for centuries: How many PhD's does it take to change a bike tire? [answer: more than two!]. Finally I gave up, piled the carcass back in the bike cage, walked to the metro and provided amusement to bored commuters by attempting to clean the black stuff off my hands with a tube of lotion and a used napkin.
Back home, my sweetheart gallantly offered rescue, explaining that I just didn't have enough experience for this kind of skilled job. We drove to my office, got the bike, brought it home, and he attempted to fix it using only the tire levers that I had used. They didn't work for him either! He declared them useless, trashed them, and fixed my tire with HIS tire levers, which due to his immense generosity, are now MY new tire levers. My patch kit was also questionable, so he put a new tube in the tire after carefully removing the shard of glass that caused the flat.

My hero!!
Lesson #1 - don't bother with cheap plastic tire levers.
Lesson #2 - be sure to have a hero waiting in the wings.