A couple years ago on a very warm July 4th we were on the trail at Mitchel Canyon Regional Park in Clayton, CA. We were making good time up the Mitchel Canyon trail, and had been outbound for nearly 30 minutes when that unmistakable rough ride feeling telegraphed through the spokes and into the frame. I had a flat - back tire - and of course had no spare. The green slime, theoretically intended for defense of the precious pressurized gasses, was seeping out between the rim and tire. A change of plans was in the making.
Fortunate for me I wasn't riding - my daughter was. Unfortunate for me, I was pushing.
We were out for a family hike on one of the hottest days of the year, and I was pushing our picnic lunch, approx. 10,000 gallons of water, and our 35lb 5 year old in the jogging stroller.
Down by 1 out of 3 wheels, I resolved to the likelyhood of replacing a tire along with a tube, and sat down with 2 great hiking companions along a very dry creek bed and consumed some of the 10,000 gallons with lunch.
Patches and slime have become a part of our life. The reason Slime was oozing out of the tire, was that by the summer of '07, all of the 3 tubes had been replaced at least once with Slime tubes since they left Toys R Us 4 years earlier. We estimate that we have over 3,000 miles on that stroller. Yes, 3,000 - and that's conservative.
It's not just the stroller though. All of our bikes have had their turn.
Bec has walked her crippled bike over a mile, to finish our "quick ride up to the store" while Ella and I returned home for the rescue vehicle.
There was the time I took my mountain bike, with the trailer bike and Ella in tow, off the paved trail while my wife looked on from the dull safety of the asphalt. We regained the pavement with a coating of Puncture Vine seed pods covering our tires. Look at the link and you will see what I mean by "coating." We spent easily 10 minutes puncturing our fingers trying to remove the beasts from the treads. The trailer bike's only wheel was deflated instantly. But, here is where I give Slime a reprieve. I'm still riding my bike on the same front tube and tire. At least a couple dozen of the seed pods were escorted out of the tire with a little green bubble, but it never went flat. The back tube survived too, but later met its demise on the bottom mile of Downieville downhill. No slime was going to fix that gash.
Two recent episodes bear noting, and were frankly the impetus for this post.
I was to meet the guys for our monthly ride to the men's prayer breakfast (February), but was redirected halfway to the rendezvous by a phone call from Dave with a flat tire. He was calling off, but I convinced him to let me come and replace his tube with the spare I was carrying. That done, we altered our route, and headed for breakfast. Within 3 miles of the destination and already running late, I flatted the Downieville tire again. "No way." I had given my spare to Dave. There we sat, wishing I had remembered to put my patch kit in the Camel Back pack also. A kind group of cyclists riding by bailed us out, after rifling 3 of thier saddle bags for a patch kit without dried glue. We snuck into the meeting approx. 1 hour late, ate cold eggs and sausage, and listened as we were lifted up in prayer for a safe arrival. God answered their prayers before they asked, and provided enough hot coffee to meet my deepest current need. I bummed a ride to Performance Bicycle in Walnut Creek, bought 2 new Slime tubes, installed one, and headed off to meet the group for the balance of the ride.
Vince and I opted for a quick "Crocket Loop" ride before dark last Thursday in leu of a run. Riding to meet him, I had one of those thoughts. You know - those thoughts which you know you shouldn't think, but allow to breach consciousness anyway. I actually gave thought to the fact that I hadn't had a flat on the road bike in some time. Within 20 minutes I was sporting a chainring tattoo on my calf, grease on all ten fingers, and was squatting beside Cummings Skyway removing a 700x 23 from an aluminum rim. All went reasonably well, with the help of Vince's frame pump, but I hadn't seated the tire well, and was off again within 100 feet disassembling. On again, and off again. Still didn't get it seated right. We now opted out of finishing the loop, and returned on the same route in the approaching twilight. Halfway back I deflated the spare on a lonely stretch of Franklin Canyon Rd. "No way." Ironically Bec called as we were commiserating and pondering our options. Vince was cool, and stayed around for a while, but as darkness settled in, took my blinking tail light and headed for home. I was soon rescued from whatever it was that kept rustling the leaves behind me.
I've patched that tube, and will be procuring another prior to my next ride, because it will happen again.