Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Crazy tire issues and biking Fountain Blvd.

A scooter bike thing, but this guy kept up with the pace!
On Sunday I decided not to go to church but instead to take a group ride that was sponsored by the West Hollywood Bicycle Coalition #WehoBike.  We met up at the West Hollywood City Hall parking lot which is only 3 blocks from where I live, and I think about 25 people on bikes showed up.

We went up Sweetzer to Fountain Blvd and then took Fountain to the Ralphs parking lot on Fountain/La Brea - which was not quite 2 miles, and then we turned around and came back.  It was a ride to experience the hard-fought sharrows that have now been laid down on Fountain, which is a major cycling street and helps connect West Hollywood to other sharrow streets.  I heard Willoughby also had some sharrows laid down as well. 

The ride was on the new tube I installed, and everything seemed fine.  I went to work afterwards, adding another 6 miles on the bike, and still the tube seemed okay.

The bike after the cookie delivery but before the flat.
Yesterday I loaded up the bike with cookies to deliver to my Monday client and rode down there, no problem, then went to work.  When I came out of work, the tire was almost flat, certainly not ride-able.  So I walked the 2 miles from Shenandoah/Pico to Beverly/Sweetzer to I. Martin Cycles.  I had bought two new tubes on Sunday, and I told them I had just changed it out, and it was already flat but that I couldn't find the problem.  The guy took it apart and carefully inspected the inside of the tire.  Just like me, he could not find the problem.  No thorns, glass, nothing poking through, but the tube definitely had a pinhole in it.  How did it get that hole?  I have no idea.  They suggested perhaps getting a new tire, but in the meantime put in a liner for me and a new tube and pumped it up, and I rode it home.  I am not feeling 100% confident in riding it at the moment since I don't want to get too far from home and get stuck with a flat - because pumping it back up will not solve anything.  There is a bigger problem.  Three tube changes in less than a month is not normal, but we cannot find the integrity issue.   I don't want to hear about how much weight is on the back of the bike.  Before I even got the Bontrager hard case tires, I hadn't experienced a single flat since owning the bike.  The original tires, which had carried me for the first 4 years, are in my closet.  That was before I had the rack and side panniers, but I used to have a different rack that attached to the seat stem, and it carried a pannier that was no heavier than the one I have now. 

So, I'm going to hope the liner gets me through a few days at least.  The walk wasn't terrible yesterday, but afterwards, the 1 mile ride home was horrendous with very blustery head-on Santa Ana winds.  Sometimes I could hardly get over 8 mph.  It's times like those where I wish I had on some fully enclosed goggles so that no debris can get into my eyes.

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