Sunday, June 14, 2009

It Takes Two People to Hold the Shaft...

Things I learned while changing yet ANOTHER EFFING TIRE today.
  1. You can successfully remove a tire tube, and replace it, and have it almost fully blown up, and still fail at changing a tire.
  2. This can happen twice.
  3. It takes two people to change a tire. One person to hold the shaft (at the base works best) and one person to carefully pump, making sure that the head doesn't fall off.
  4. Two people can fail at doing this...TWICE.
  5. Patches can work, but only for so long.
  6. If you're going to have to wait for a friend to pick you up, you may as well be here...

So...the day started off quite well. Clarence, Mik, and I met at Betty's at 6:45, loaded bikes and gear and headed toward Pacific Beach. Our goal was to start at the Rose Creek Canyon trail, ride up into UCSD, then head toward Torrey Pines State Beach, onto Del Mar, Solana Beach and back. We'd hoped to get in about 30 miles and some hill work since Betty and Mik are going to bike around Tahoe this summer.*

Betty and Mik got there first - Clarence and I wondered why Betty was dressed as a homeless person.

We stopped to stretch when we got to UCSD - about 5 miles into the ride and after going up one hill.

The roads on the UCSD campus, especially on the back side are a mess. They're pretty torn up, patched, and filled with divots. After the tire-changing episode two weekends ago, I've been pretty careful riding my bike on bad roads, but 2ithin two miles of our stretch stop, I hit a divot in the street pretty hard, and just like the last time I could feel the back tire, and then I could hear the air...hsssssssssssss.

Clarence was behind me (again...thanks so much). So we stopped, swore, and got to changing the tire.

This time, I had all the tools and two (not one...but TWO...spare tubes).

Back tire, off. Yellow tube-removing tool-thingies - check

The dude at the bike store suggested that I store the tubes in a plastic bag in talc, so I've got baby powder effing EVERYWHERE now.

We had some troubles pumping the tire at first, but that's probably because I don't really understand how these newfangled tire-valve thingy's work. But we start pumping...
Then the valve breaks..
It's a really blurry picture...but there's a broken valve here...

Clarence and I swear a few more times, then decided to use the SECOND TUBE and to be careful this time.

So I remove the broken-valve tube (in record time, I might add)...and by this time, Betty and Mik return to the scene to help with the pumping...because they're really good at that...and by now my hand was tired.

Mik helps out by holding the base of the shaft and Betty pumps...

Sometimes it helps to change position...

Mik said this position was really uncomfortable

So as we almost have the second tire pumped up...what happens?

If you are a non-biker, this means nothing to you, but bikers might recognize this as a bike valve without the little screw-on/off top thingy...which means that any air pumped in comes right the EFF out after the pump is removed...WTF?

So, undaunted by two broken valves, we opt to patch the blown out tube.

I use this (which I don't recommend BTW)

VERY CAREFULLY... We pumped the tire full of air. Managed to do this without breaking off a third valve, and SUCCESS!

Hooray for us.

At this point, we'd been riding about 7 and a half miles (that's all), so we decided to rid up onto Torrey Pines to see how the tire holds. And it seems to for about another 2 miles or so.

Then as we descend down toward the state beach, I start to really feel the road. About 3/4 of the way down the hill, I look down. Tire. is. totally. flat. GAH!

One flat tire

I love Clarence for many reasons. She is a great friend, but this morning, I loved her because she then tried to put enough air in my tire to get me the rest of the way down the hill to the state beach (which is where we were meeting Betty and Mik) and when that didn't work, she walked her bike down the hill with with me (about 1/4 mile), and reminded me to walk with my bike toward the road and to not get hit by one of the cars racing up PCH at about 65 mph.

Mik and Betty - Getting ready for the ride back UP Torrey Pines Betty and Mik plenty of encouragement to pee

Elsie to the rescue - she came to pick up Clarence and I - I guess it's a good thing she DIDN'T ride with us this morning.

So...Clarence and I got a lift from Elsie, and met Betty and Mik at the high dive for some breakfast (by then lunch)

Guinness and Pancakes... (That was for you Al)

Mik does a celebration drink from the champagne bottle...reward for riding back up North Torrey Pines.

Clarence and the bikes on the ride home - yes, I need a bike rack

So...lessons learned.
  1. I need a bike rack
  2. I now know how to change a tire
  3. WTF is up with the tire valves that I was using? Am I an idiot and don't know how to pump up a tire? or was it faulty valves?
  4. WTF is up with me and the flat tires? I'm thinking it's time to get a real road bike. Maybe the road tires on a mountain bike is just not such a good idea... some how the weight or the ratios of weight to tire load capacity is off.
  5. Or maybe I just have really bad luck (I also broke my camera today...completely random...can't figure out how. We just looked at it and the lens was stuck and it's broken now).

My stats for the weekend

Friday - Ride 12 miles
Saturday - Run 4.5 miles
Sunday - Ride 9.7 miles

*I'll write later about why I'm not going, but I'm expecting guest blogs about their adventures from both of them.


  1. Wow. What an experience! That totally blows. (no pun intended)

  2. Your post title and the first and last paragraph cracked me up.. actually the whole post did. LOL

    Sorry about your luck with the tires though... my hybrid bike seemed to do that a lot too, and the shop always said nothing wrong with it... Too bad you're not doing Tahoe, isn't that what started you on the training with the bike?

  3. This one's going to attract all kinds of weird and sex-crazed searches, you know. I need a bike rack too. And one of those spare tubes and flat tire patches. I'm riding on borrowed time. Never occurred to me I could get a flat, until my car broke down with one today.

  4. Despite it all, I still had TONS 'O FUN and learned a lot. Example- Raccoons can get as big as dogs, I need new bike gloves/shoes/clips, my pump rocks, and it takes three U-turns to get breakfast and mimosas!

    I'm ready for next week! Bring it!

  5. The pancakes and beer looks good.
    Looks like patch and spares will be next purchase.

    I got my bike rack Saturday.

  6. I don't know shiz about road tires on a mountain bike BUT I have had a bad batch of tubes where the valves were all crappy. I've also had issues with the valve and pump - where it was the pump that was jacking up all the valves, bending, breaking etc.

    Pancakes and Beer, YES!

  7. I'm busting up over here! I swear, the tire thing, it's like major surgery!

    Guinness and Pancakes - the breakfast of champions. :) Glad to know the High Dive was a repeat visit.

    Eventually I'll get (back) on the bike band wagon. It's a work in progress...

  8. AKA - This series of blog posts is hilarious! You have such a way with word - I have these great images in my head! If I ever take up biking (again) I 'll ride a few hundred yards behind you guys and enjoy the fun.

  9. I thought the same thing as Anne, there are going to be some sorely disappointed pervs out there searching for "shafts" worthy of two hands.

    I don't know why they make those GD things so flimsy! I have not broken one yet, but I am sure it is a matter of time.

    Your chillins are welcome in my class ANY time!! ;o)

  10. I had tears from laughing just trying to get through the first paragraph. Especially #3.....key points: shaft, base, 2 hands....please I'm dying here!!!

  11. Yet another reason for me to avoid bikes: I can't do all that technical stuff and I have never had a "flat shoe" while running! You're so lucky you have such a great group of girlfriends!

  12. comment love test

  13. Way to make a funny post out of what must have been a frustrating situation. The Guinness nad pancakes are cracking me up!

  14. ZOMG, sister, you and your friends can "change my tire" any time you want because you really know your way around a "base" and a "head"!

  15. Gee whiz Alice! I learn so much riding with everyone! WE all are learning to change tires and it has provided much needed laughter along the ride. I'm not sure but mapping my ride said 6% grade for part of the Torrey Pines Hill - and it also said only a 4% grade at the most for all of Tahoe? Is that right? If so - I hope you join us. If not - we'll have Guinness waiting for us at the fanny bridge in Tahoe City!

  16. I really need to learn how to change my tire tubes. Ack. Good thing you have a solid crew to roll with!

    Guinness and pancakes sounds good.. can't say I've had that combo, but I'll try anything once.

  17. WOW well it's good to get it all out of the way in one ride!

  18. As horrible as this must have been, it looks like those pancakes made up for every bit of it. Thanks for sharing your story.