Two Wheels - Six Strings

Random news and thoughts about various two-wheeled projects and music, especially my band, Skull Full Of Blues.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New Composition: Tires in the Key of A Flat

I got up this morning and went about my normal routine. I turned on the TV to get the weather and news, fed the dog, etc.

After I put Jack out in the dog pen, I was brushing my teeth when I wandered into the livingroom to look at whatever was on the news. (Am I the only one who wanders around the house while brushing his teeth?). That was when I noticed that the GT was sitting on a flat rear tire.

It seems like it's always the rear; the harder of the two wheels to remove and replace.

So, I got dressed, packed my lunch into the pannier and rolled the bike out to the shop. I figured that, since this was a "convenient" flat (at home, not on the road) I'd throw the bike into the stand to simplify things.

After unhooking the trailer from the pink bike and stowing it away, hanging the pink bike on its hooks and taking the singlespeed MTB I'm building up for Tom Turley out of the bikestand and perching it on the futon, I put the GT in the stand.

Simplify...ummm, yeah.

Anyway, I grabbed a 29er tube off of the shelf, loosened the axle nuts and got started. After extracting the tube, I put some air in it to see if I could locate the leak. No such luck.

Then, I ran a cloth around the inside surface of the tire in an effort to locate whatever had punctured the tube in the first place. Again, no go.

I installed the new tube and aired it up. That required 115 strokes on my floor pump to reach 65 psi. I usually air the tires up to 80 psi, then ignore them for a month before re-airing. But, I was in a hurry, and really didn't want to do any more pumping.

Then, I proceeded to reinstall the wheel...only to be reminded that the WTB ExiWolf 2.3 tires on this bike won't fit throught the V-brakes when inflated.


Well, I for sure didn't plan on deflating the big monster and pumping it up again. Down from the tool board came a 5mm allen wrench, and off the bike came the left brake arm. Then, once the wheel was back in the frame, I reinstalled the brake arm, hooked up the cable and I was ready (finally) to go to work.

As an aside, I have to say that I really do like the eccentric bottom bracket/vertical dropout setup on the bike. No messing around with chain tension or wheel alignment is necessary. Just hook the chain on the cog and chainring and then swing the wheel up into the dropouts. Sweet and easy.

When I build a fixed MTB or cross frame, I will probably go this route, although I will still use standard horizontal drops in a road fixie, just because I like the way they look.

At 5:55, twenty minutes after I wheeled the bike out of the house, I was finally on the way to work. I was in the building, at CDOT, by 6:30, still a half-hour before I am required to be there. That's one reason why I leave so early: A delay won't necessarily make me late to work.

The other reason I leave so early is to miss the automobile traffic. I saw a bit more than normal, this morning, but still had an easy uneventful ride in.

At about 2:30, I walked into my cubicle only to be confronted with a flat front tire.

Great! Another "convenient" flat. How much convenience does one man rate in a single day?

Was it a slower leak from the same source as the flat on the rear, or something I picked up on the way in? I don't know.

I found two thorns in the tire, and pulled them out. I took the wheel off and proceeded to remove the tire, only to realize that I had no tire irons in my tool bag.

Man, oh, man.

I managed to get the tire off using the handle of my nail clippers as a tire iron, then pumped some air into the tube.

Sure enough, there were two holes, one for each thorn. I decided to patch them, rather than replace the tube. I wanted to save my spare tube in case I had some bad luck on the way home. I only carry one tube, and I prefer to save it and my CO2 cartridge for roadside repair.

Long story short, 265 strokes of my frame-mount mini-floorpump gave me 65psi in the tire.

The flat this morning was my first one in a good while. In fact, I have over 500 miles on the GT, alone, since I bought it and that was my first flat on it. I'm hoping it's at least that long before I have the next one.

Speaking of mileage, I hit 1400 commuter miles and 82 workdays in a row that I've ridden the bike in. In fact, I can only account for about 5 days since May 1 that I haven't ridden the bike, at all. My motorbike, truck and scooter are all kinda neglected, at this point.

Time to go check the tires for thorns, I suppose.



At 9:38 PM , Blogger katina said...

Silly flat tires...and they always come in be careful.

At 9:44 PM , Blogger Jon said...

Well, when I got up on Thursday, the front tire was about half deflated. So, I ended up changing it before I went to work.

I guess that makes 2.5 flats, which rounds up to 3. Hopefully, I'm done with them for a while.


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