Sunday, June 21, 2009

Just enough is almost just enough

Took the QB out for a spin today.

A quick 40-miler :>).   I run a bit longer on this usual route but unfortunately...I flatted.

This happens. You just have to take it in stride.  Last year, the QB flatted on the MS150 ride but I managed to finally get the tube changed and back on the road.  The QB is fully fendered, and with horizontal dropouts I ended up removing the entire rear fender, fixed the tire, then replaced the entire fender.  Yeek.

This time I flatted on the rear, again, just about halfway through the ride.  It was a slow leak, because I noticed the bike gradually getting squirrelly.  I wasn't looking forward having to remove the entire rear fender but I resigned myself to this arduous task.

I pulled off the road into a field driveway (we callem 'gateholes' here in Ioway), flipped the bike upside down and commenced to loosen the rear wheel and remove the chain.   As I pulled the rear wheel back in the dropouts, of course the wheel stopped just maddeningly a half inch or so before the dropout opening...pushed up against the fender of course.

Wait a minute.  SKS fender mounts are basically stainless steel wires passing through a piece of hardware consisting of a nut threaded to a small shaft with a hole drilled perpendicular to the shaft.  Loosening the nut allows one to position the fender closer or farther away from the wheel.   Maaaybe if I loosed the mounting nuts and moved the fender out, I could get enough room to get the axle to fall out of the dropouts.

Eureka!  Pushing the fender out that extra half-inch or so did the trick.  I got the wheel off, tube out and began to inspect the tire.  What the heck poked a hole in my tire?

Since my Speedblends are tan on the inside, it was easy to see a small black mark near the centerline of the tire.  Running my finger over it revealed a small, sharp object.  It didn't seem like a nail, just a small diameter sharp piece of wire.  This might be a challenge to remove. However, one thing I always carry in my repair kit is a Leatherman tool.  This tool includes a needlenose pliers, and every farm boy knows you can repair almost anything with a good pair of pliers.  It was just good enough to grab the end of the wire and pull it free. 

The tube I carry with me was a bit small (700c 20-28) and I was running 700c-35 tires, but it was just good enough to work.   Oh crap, no compact pump.  I left it in my Carradice bag.  However, in my small kit I carry a CO2 inflator and two 16 g CO2 cartidges.  It was just enough to air up the fatter 35mm tire and get me on my way.

On the road again.  I got about 3 miles from home when I noticed the bike getting squirrelly again.  Damn!  I pulled out the CO2 inflator and pumped what was left of the last cartridge into my sagging tire.  Maybe it would get me home, maybe not.  Not!

Only a couple of miles from home, flat rear tire and no air.  I pulled my last resort tool from my bag of tricks.

The cell phone.

Yeah, it was time to bite the bullet, swallow my pride and call the wife.  Yes, she was home and  it only took her a few minutes to run out and pick me up.  

Okay, so what about the tire?   I pulled the tire apart after I got the bike home, but didn't find anything else sticking out from the inside of the tire.  I stuck the tire in my sink to find the source of the leak, and found it was coming from the same area I pulled the wire from.  But there was no wire...but there was a slightly elongated hole.   I theorized as I rolled down the road the hole expanded as the tire rolled over the ground and closed as it passed, opening and closing the small hole and pinching the tube.  My solution?  Use my small patch kit which contained a patch 'just large enough' to cover the hole left by the wire.  

We'll see if it works.  -D


Travel Gravel said...

Sounds like a good time to employ the old "GU package boot trick." I have used it a few times, and then when time allows I have put shoe goo on the puncture site and it always holds, for many many miles. Shoe goo, a staple in my long-trip bag for sure. Later! said...

I've heard of the shoe goo fix. So you just put shoe goo on a tube puncture, without a patch? It'd certainly be worth a try!

Travel Gravel said...

I have actually only done it on the tire itself, if the hole is larger than, say, a pencil lead point. I patch tubes per the norm:) said...

Sounds like Shoe Goo is going to be a good addition to my repair kit! Thanks! -D