Wednesday, November 23, 2011
How To Fix A Flat
I remove my full fingered gloves and right away my bare fingers acknowledge the cold wind. I'm happy now with my decision to bring an extra spare tube and pull it out of my left jersey pocket from under my chocolate chip granola bars and my windstopper beanie. I round up a floor pump from the well prepared volunteers and get to work on my flat in the windy cold. I pull up the rear brake's quick release and shift the chain down the cassette to the second to the smallest cog and yank open the quick release and give it a couple of spins. I pop the rear wheel out of the dropouts with a gentle tap on the top of the wheel and pull it out and off, working the cassette away from the slack chain.
I push with my thumbs about 6 inches apart opposite the stem and quickly pop the tire off the rim. In seconds the tire is off the drive side of the rim and I remove the tube. I pop the tube on the floor pump and give it a couple of pumps and try to spot or hear the leak. It's too windy to really hear anything except the wind, but I continue my inspection around the tube, trying to listen or feel on my cheek any escaping air. All I can feel is the wind and the cold pushing on my face and fingers, so I'm not sure if there is a puncture or if the stem has a leak. I set aside the sagging tube and quickly inspect the inside of my tire.
I see nothing amiss inside the casing, so I run my cold bare fingers around the inside of my tire multiple times trying to find anything that will cause another problem. I find nothing. I unscrew the presta valve on my extra spare tube and push it in with my tongue as I blow a little air into the tube to ease installation. I close the presta valve and push it down into the rim and quickly work it around the wheel and into the tire. My fingers are now very cold and I set the bead around the valve and work the tire back onto the drive side of the rim. Opposite the valve, I quickly pop the tire fully on the rim with two last pushes with my cold thumbs and pinch my way around the tire to make sure that the extra spare tube won't be pinched when inflated.
I work my cassette onto my chain and slip the wheel back into the dropouts making sure the tire is centered. I spin the quick release and close it checking the rear wheel for fit and push down the quick release on the rear brake. My hands are freezing now and I velcro my seatbag back onto my seat rails and I'm glad things seem to be back in order and I can get underway again. I pull my granola bar out from under my bib on the top of my right thigh and eat it quickly as I return the floor pump to the volunteer. I throw the tube in the trash along with the teriyaki beef stick and granola bar wrappers and look forward to getting back to pedalling the rest of this Tri-States Gran Fondo and warming up again.
Posted by Steve Wilson