Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Magical Me

One of our favorite assets is a really great street bike that we won in a drawing at the Provo Freedom Festival in 2004. (Never underestimate the power to fill out a million drawing entry forms...you may just win one!) We just wish we had two!

Chris has the luxury of working just 2 miles from home, so he frequently rides the bike to work so that he can get some exercise and I can have the car. Unfortunately, we get pinch flats all the time. We are both kind of clueless about this kind of thing, evidence being that our little tire pump is supremely inadequate and probably only fills our tires to about 20 psi. (If you know anything about bikes, this is not enough) Our good friends David and Michal are seasoned cyclists and gave me the ten minute low-down on how to fix a flat. Then for Chris's birthday I spent $20 at Walmart getting a tube repair kit and a decent floor pump with a pressure gauge.

Today I decided to venture out into the unknown to attempt to repair the tube myself. I have to say, I must have looked pretty goofy as I tried to figure out how to take the tire off the axle and as I puzzled over how to remove the tube from the tire. Picture me on my front porch bending over a tire with my pregnant belly, nicely combed hair, and with unusually dirty fingers scratching my head every 30 seconds. The repair kit came with patches, a metal buffer, and these goofy little hooks that I had no idea what they were for. I would just ignore them until it was absolutely necessary to use them for something. Sure enough, you definatley need the hook-thingy to get the tire off the wheel.

Then, I pumped up the tube a little to see where the air was leaking out. It was not hard to find. I followed the only two instructions on the repair kit, which were to buff the area around the hole and then apply the patch. So far so good. Then I faced the challenge of reinserting the tube into the tire, which I accomplished in only five minutes (half as long as it took me to remove the tube), and easily put the tire back on the bike, pumped it up as much as I could with my weak little arms (about 65 psi...), and rode around my parking lot beaming like a little kid on Christmas. I fixed a flat tire all my myself! I feel like superwoman!

Total time for this project: 30 Minutes
Total number of lifeline calls: Zero!
Total cost: $20
Total satisfaction: 100%

Now as a disclaimer, I will not post on my blog if the tire is somehow flat again tomorrow, and I have no idea what to do about brakes or those annoying chains that sometimes fall off...that's for me to learn in another life, and in this life, we'll have David fix for us. But come on, give me some credit here for getting my hands dirty and doing it by myself, no matter how much you want to laugh at me, oh wise bicycle sage!

3 comments:

Frank said...

Sure enough, you definately need the hook-thingy to get the tire off the wheel.

Yes, the tire levers are definitely your friends :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on being a woman of power. It feels great to be one and to be the mother of one. Now I feel like I raised you right!

I was a woman of power two weeks ago when I identified and replaced the time delay fuses inside the control box for the pneumatic switch on our pool. I did call the service line, but I also did climb into the crawl space, find and open the box, remove and replace the fuses, etc.

I have never changed a flat tire--on bike or car. I'll put it on my to-do list. Mom

mdcoombs said...

yay jenny!! you've done something i haven't ever done! we've been lost in no cell or internet land (otherwise known as yellowstone and teton national parks) all week--glad to be back, although it's awful muggy here in utah valley, compared to the clean, crisp air where we've been hiking around.
michal