Last night, I changed my inner tube on my rear flat. For the first time, I tried the CO2 cartridge I bought back in September. Unlike my first experience with a different CO2 product, this one worked like a champ. I was quite pleased with myself, until I noticed a nasty bulge in my tire (see above).
Hmmm… Just how serious would this be?
This morning, I hoped to ride a 53 mile route into Fauquier County. I checked the tire pressure and was alarmed to see a 20 PSI drop overnight. Not good. I pumped it up and resolved to make the best of it. A freezing rain was to begin falling at 1:00. Maybe it would hold off. I left at 10:45 and five minutes into the ride, I felt my first rain drop. The promised temperature near 60 degrees never materialized. It was cold and miserable. I quickly changed plans to a shorter 26 mile route (see below).
I was happy with my effort. I was pushing a 17 mph pace in a stiff breeze and rain which alternated from deluge to sleet. A four-minute wait at a traffic signal shot my average speed to hell, but I was still very happy. When I got home, I checked the tire and it was quite soft. That average pace was more impressive than I thought!
Unfortunately, it also meant that I had another flat. The problem was obvious – the quarter-inch gash caused by the shard of glass was the culprit. I took the bike into my LBS to see if it could be saved.
The mechanic took one look at the problem and said, “That’s a new tire.” He said the rear tire was already showing signs of wear and probably only had 1,000 miles left in it. Heavy Loads such as Yours Truly have this kind of effect on tires, especially the rear one which bears most of the weight. Rather than buy the exact same tire, I upgraded to a Bontrager Hardcase with Kevlar liners. The wheel is also designed to prevent “pinch flats,” a condition where too much weight presses down on the tube and pinches it against the rim. Having experienced two pinch flats last summer on my hybrid, I know I am prone to them. If the wheel works as advertised, that will be a good thing.
While I had the bike in there, I asked for my free annual tune up. Here’s hoping when I get it back in a couple of days, I’ll be all set for the summer!