Friday, August 1, 2008

A Lesson, and a Purple Thumb

So, the big green mountain bike has been leaning in the corner, reproaching me every time I go in to pick up the commuter bike to go to work, or the Orbea to go off for training or group ride. Wednesday, I was having a little trouble getting the commuter to shift down into the granny gear -- an issue, since I made a couple of trips over the Big Dam Bridge, and the wind was blowing like there was nothing between here and Canada... So I load up the Fisher and my messenger bag to put a little change into the day's rides.

First of all, was a quick reminder of the nice thing about cargo racks... it makes a difference when you put the load on the bike instead of your Back. Somewhere I knew that already, but it was a good reminder that It Do Make a Difference. I had a change of clothes, plus I just threw in my handlebar bag and my U-Lock... and after a couple of miles I pulled over to put the handlebar bag where it belonged and shift the lock into the bottom of the bag for a little better balance. That helped, and I tooled on the last couple miles into work. On the way home, I packed all the week's clothing to take home and wash, and left the U-lock on the bike rack as compensation. (Note: a Kryptonite 3000 New York U-Lock weighs about 4 1/2 pounds all by its lonesome. But it's still half the weight of that derned New York Chain I got last winter to ensure that the new MTB stays put.)

So, down between the Big Dam Bridge and the low water ridge, I run a sharp thorn through the front tire for a sudden flat, and take a short spill as the fast-deflating tire rolls off the edge of the path. Jams my left thumb pretty good, but not other significant hurts. Makes it a real pain (no pun needed) to change the flat... just as I remember that my frame pump is still sitting attached to my rack trunk in the truck back in the commuter lot 6 miles away. I do, however, have my nifty little micro-inflater, and two (2) 16-gram CO2 cartridges. I've always noted and repeated the popular wisdom that a 16-gram cyclinder won't work on a Mountain bike tire, especially one of those big whompin' 29er tires. Well, if we don't want to take a long hike in the heat, now's the time to test that hypothesis.

I slipp the tire off and extract the punctured tube, eventually finding the little hole and a sharp thingy sticking nearby. I take particular care to put in my spare tube and reseat the tire -- then carefully give 'er one of the CO2 cartridges. It inflates, and it's pressurized enough to roll, so I put the tools away and off we go...

For the record, if you've got a flat MTB tube but only one of the 16 gram cartridges, it will put 20 pounds of pressure into a 29er knobby tire. Not all that stiff, but it will get you home.

I still need to add a can or two of Big Air to the shopping list this weekend, along with a fresh 29er tube... and the left thumb this morning is feeling a whole lot better, but it's an amazing shade of purple from bruising.