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deflationary pressures

a flat tire and road grime

my poor bike...

I was very much looking forward to biking to work today, after a full week stuck in the car due to an inability to coordinate my schedule with that of the bike shop. The snow day gave me a way around that problem, so it was with a happy heart and a new tube that I set out into the sunshine this morning.

Things did seem a little harder than usual in the early part of the ride, but I wrote that off as a result of my time off, plus maybe the half-inch or so of frozen snow on the ground. The extra work (not to mention the awesome February sun) warmed me up, so I stopped to adjust some layers—a mistake, as it turns out. When I got back on the bike I noticed the tell-tale squishyness that indicates a completely flat tire. My response cannot be printed here.

Even though this was the first time I flatted when I had in my possession both a new tube and a pump, I didn't want to go through all the bother of changing the tube when it was clear something was very wrong with either my tire or my rim. The dead tube barely made it three miles; I wasn't going to throw away another eight bucks in hopes of finishing off the next three. $2.67 a mile compares poorly even with the mileage of a full-sized SUV, I believe. Nor was I going to surrender and call Leah for a ride, especially since I knew she was walking the dog and wouldn't be able to help.

No, what I did was to push forward on the very squishy tire, stopping to re-inflate every half-mile or so when I started to feel the bumps through the rim. It was not fun, and when the pumping started to show diminishing returns (diminishing almost to nothing, in fact) I gave it up and rode the last mile or so standing up, to take as much weight as I could off the back wheel. I hope I didn't do any damage to the rim, but I just had to get to work!

In the end I made it in a little under an hour, compared to the half-hour or so it usually takes me. I expected the folks at work to be a little annoyed, since I was after all about 15 minutes late, but they were actually very solicitous. They were concerned, apparently, that I had had an accident and was lying in a ditch somewhere. Don't worry, even in the winter biking isn't any more dangerous than driving; it's just sometimes a little inconvenient.

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