Friday, June 02, 2006


I guess it's fitting that bicycle flats seem to come in "cycles." I'm in a definite upswing right now. Yesterday, I rode down the highway to a favorite trout stream for the afternoon. I was off the water at 8:30, bought some fuel (Choco Sticks and PBR crackers) at a gas station, and started the hour ride home in fading light. The ride was uneventful until I hit a traffic light on the outskirts of town, accelerated away on green, and was bouncing all over the shoulder. A rear flat.

I happened to be right near a Wal-Mart, which is about the second best spot to be with a flat (after home). Yes, Wal-Mart has everything a cycler needs for a pleasant flat fixin': clean grass to relax on, overhead lighting, and even a bathroom to wash up in if you forgot to replace the latex gloves you tore on the last flat. Shoot, they probably even have latex gloves!

As I took my time changing out the tube, Wal-Mart shoppers gave me their full attention. As I assured them I had what I needed, didn't need a ride, didn't need to use their cell phone, etc, I wondered why some of these same folks show so little concern for cyclers on the road. There's something about being face to face and remembering we're all just human, I think. Or, maybe I should ride with flat tires.

When the new tube was inflated, chain tensioned and the tools and old tube stashed, I sat in the grass another few minutes to watch the early summer light fade. Riding home, I decided that as long as there is no highway shoulder, rain, or complete darkness involved, fixing bike flats is actually pretty fun. May all your punctures be pleasant!


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