Thursday, June 24, 2010


Juli got a flat yesterday.

Her Fuji has 24x1 tires, with presta tubes -- 520 bead diameter. Small racing tire size that graces the handful of available kids sporty bikes and those Terry bikes for petite women that have the big 700c rear and the little 24" front. They're narrow, high-pressure tires on small wheels, not kids 24" MTB or balloon tires -- high-pressure small dealies.

Yesterday the three of us were headed to Hopkinton State Park to rent a canoe, and naturally I wanted to ride there. It's only 4-5 miles each way, and I'm trying not to use the car as much as I can while I have the opportunity not to. Not just to be fit, but also to try to be conscious of what's possible without burning gasoline. I picked Ava up from school on the Schwinn and trailer bike on Tuesday, for example. She was grinning, and I got in a short workout.

As I was putting the bag full of towels and sandwiches into the Schwinn's basket, Juli started riding around the driveway. Things felt wrong to her and sounded wrong to us both -- lots of vibration. She immediately began angling for a new bike, since Ava just got a new-to-her little MTB of her own, but sadly (for her) it turned out to be just a flat rear tire.

I pulled the tire off and the source of the flat was immediately apparent -- there was an inch and a half of shiny, slender nail inside the tire, with no head. I'm guessing it was a broken nail from the re-siding job next door, that ended up in our driveway somehow.

The nail pierced the tube twice -- both out at the tread and in at the rim, in a diagonal path. I gave up on glued patch kits years ago, having gone to the sticker variety. Probably not a hot tip for this kind of flat, though. The outside patch held, but the inside patch didn't -- twice. I had to go buy a new tube, and we'll put it in this morning, then go for a ride later today. Yesterday was demo day for fixing a flat, and I showed Juli how to do it. Today will be hands-on day, which should be interesting.

Because she couldn't ride, we drove over to the park, and for all of my high-horsiness, I was grateful burning gas was an option. There were no lines yesterday, and the girls had a genuinely good time canoeing, as you can see above. We're planning to go over again on Friday -- this time in our bathing suits. There are a couple of little islands (former hilltops) in the reservoir to climb around on and swim from, so it should be a lot of fun. And from a workout perspective, I need to do more for my upper body, and get over there regularly. I'm a bit of a one-trick pony, with cycling making up most of my exercise hours, and it felt great to be paddling. I may even sign us up as members at the boat dock, so we can take a boat out any time this summer. Only members can use the day sailers, too, which would be fun.

All for now,


Updated 6/25:

Fix didn't work. The new tube went in just fine, and held air just fine. For about 45 seconds. But under pressure, the weakened spot on the Pasela's sidewall where the nail went in (didn't know it was a sidewall puncture) tore open in a V-shape about a quarter of an inch per side. Which in turn allowed 90PSI of freshly pumped air to blast its way through a $7 (plus tax) Specialized butyl tube, taking a fair bit of butyl with it on the way out, and leaving a 1/8" ragged hole (not a puncture -- a hole). Sounded like an air pistol shot, or maybe a .22 short, and looked like it had been shot. Anyway, the bike is sidelined until next week, when a new Panaracer Pasela and two new tubes should arrive via UPS. Those 520 tires and tubes are hard to find.

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