Tuesday, May 11, 2010

One Second Flat

I couldn't remember how to release the brake cable on my bike and I could have kicked myself for leaving the store without knowing definitively.

I'm thinking to myself -- I'm relatively smart; I should be able to figure this out. The mechanism is not that complicated but, eventually, I loaded my bike and headed to the store from whence the bike came.

This young man wanted to know if I had been helped and as soon as I said brake cable, he reached down and, in one second flat, had the cable apart. My face got so warm.

I mimicked the young man's action and, of course, it wasn't as easy for me to disengage the brake cable but I did it.

Brake Cable Unplugged

Today, I reenacted the disengagement of the cable and took my front wheel to REI to participate in a Fix A Flat clinic.

I learned a lot including the fact that changing a tire is time intensive. I also learned that triathletes prefer co2 pumps unless you're a wannabe triathlete such as myself with one sprint under her belt.

  • A dollar bill is effective for temporarily patching the sidewall of your tire

  • A little baby powder on the inner tube helps it slide back into the tire

  • A sock is helpful for handling a bike chain

  • Don't use a lever to put the tire back on

  • I have directional tires

  • I bravely took the tire levers and mimicked what the REI instructor had done. I have to say that my tire came off fairly easy. Then, I put some baby powder on my inner tube, put the rim back on etc. etc.

    Do I feel completely at ease with my tire changing knowledge? No. But I do feel like I'm capable of gutting it out and getting the deed done.

    When I got back home, I had quite a time putting my wheel back on. It was so frustrating until I remembered Paul saying something about hitting the seat. So, I hit the seat and, sure enough, my wheel lined up. I put the doohickey bolt back in, made sure it said closed and prayed that my tire was going in the right direction.

    Have you attended any workshops to keep you on the real or metaphoric road? I sometimes think about taking a Total Immersion freestyle workshop but I'm just thinking about it...


    1. Nice Job 'Drea!

      The first time I changed a tire it took me 45 minutes. I've got it down to about 15 minutes now but its never fun. Have you taken off the back tire yet? Getting the back one on and off always makes everyone groan.

      Smart idea to take a clinic. I keep saying I need to take some bicycle repair workshop but I can never find the time!

    2. You are so wise to learn how to change your bike tire, because sure as you do't know, you will be stuck walking your bike back home!

      You've inspired me to keep looking for a new bike!

    3. Haha, I've had that same experience, even as a non-biker (or a "hardly biker") -- those wheels just don't come off as easy as the sales people make it seem! I always struggle!

    4. @Diane,

      Wow, fifteen minutes. I hope that I can get as efficient as you one day.

      There was a woman who brought in her rear tire because she thought she had a flat and Paul did show us on the guinea bike how to take off the rear tire. He even had some trick where you don't have to touch the chain but the show-off has been working in a bike shop since he was nine...:)

      I know what you mean about time. That Culture Club song is never far from my mind: time won't give me time...

      @Diane Fit to the Finish,

      If a flat happens close to the beginning of the trail, I'm so walking it back. ;) I definitely wanted to know how to change a flat, though, for those times when I'm doing a considerable amount of miles.

      I think you should treat yourself to a new bike. :)

      @Nicole, RD,

      I am so leery when someone tells me that something is going to be very easy because it's usually not. I don't know what made me sweat more -- trying to figure out the brake cable the first time or getting that dang wheel back on. :)

    5. And as I commented on another rider's blog - I would rather just pay someone to be with me and to change the tire as needed. :D

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    7. @Fattie Fatterton,

      I have that feeling a lot. :)

      I also have a need to know how to do things. What an internal battle... ;)