Thursday, October 25, 2012

Flat #2

So today I was doing my usual route before work, trying to get in 5 miles when about 4 miles in, at the corner of Sherborne and Cadillac, I heard the sound PHSSSSST, and I was immediately unable to pedal.  Darn it, the back tire went flat again.  I walked the bike a block up Cadillac and turned onto Bedford and found a flat sidewalk area where I could flip the bike over and get the tire off.  Well, it was the replacement thick tube from when Gregor was here a couple months ago.  It's been bothering me that the valve stem wasn't sticking up straight anymore but was at an angle, and I kept thinking it was going to tear again, and sure enough that was what happened.  So I installed the spare, but the tire is so big that it was hard for me to keep control of the valve stem and keep it straight while I was trying to pump it up.

I got it pumped up enough to get to work, but afterwards decided to check out Bikeology up on Pico, about 7 blocks north of where I work.  When I got inside the store with my bike, there was just the owner, and a worker, and the owner was fairly uninviting.  I tried to explain my problem to them, hoping for an answer, and they said it was due to lack of air pressure, but I was thinking my tires are pumped up and hard, why would it be that?  They didn't seem welcoming and helpful at all, so I finally asked if I could just get a little squirt of air to make sure I had enough pressure in the tire to get back to I. Martin Imports which was over 2 miles away.  They gave me the squirt and I was on my way, taking the sidewalks back down the 7 blocks.

on the S.W. corner of Beverly Blvd/Sweetzer.
When I got to I. Martin Imports, my favorite mechanic, Ryan, came right out to meet me.  He is so nice and friendly.  I told him my problem and showed him the 2nd ruined thick tube.  He took the bike into the work area and fixed the valve stem angles.  He said it was indeed a pressure issue and that I needed to keep the bigger tires at a higher psi of 60-80, and that I needed to pump them every couple of days to top off the pressure.  He said the tubes can lose 10-20% of air pressure in just 2 days.  He gave me a replacement Bontrager tube, which I was happy to pay for, but he declined to receive payment.

I asked him the question of "is it possible to come here and apprentice for a while on bike maintenance," and he said that over the years many people had asked that but that the company was declining those requests due to workplace liability, but that he would maybe be able to find some time to work with me on specific issues and questions.  We talked also about cycling shoes and he said that when I did finally get them that I should be prepared to fall over several times while getting my brain in gear to unclip.  He also mentioned that there were some instore trainers that I could ride to help me get used to clipping in and unclipping.  This is why I go to this store.... everyone is so helpful.  It's not just Ryan.  They're all like this.

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