You know how a to-do item in our modern world can actually take four separate steps, so by the time you cross that one action item off, it’s been 3 weeks?
That’s how fixing my bike tire is going.
I THOUGHT it was going to be simple.
Last week, my tire went flat between the time I got to work and when I went to retrieve it that afternoon. I figured I’d run over something. The next day, I searched my house but couldn’t find any bike tire patch kits – I thought I had one but, alas, it has found a way to hide itself somewhere. Maybe it’s having a drawer-party with all the pens and hair ties I can never find.
This past weekend, I got to a store and bought a bike tire patch kit, and a weird product that guaranteed to patch my tire with bright green sludge. I was sold on it – squeeze some into my tire, it said, and it would magically fix the tire.
So, there I am, last night after work, patches in hand, sitting on the concrete after having flipped over my bike. It’s dusk – there’s still daylight left, but not much. So I’d better hurry, I figure.
I get out the little plastic tools that came with my patch kit, and begin to free one side of the wheel from the rim. It’s hard work but I persist, and eventually work the tools, and then my fingers, around the wheel. Then I pull out the flat tire from between the wheel and the rim. I run inside to get my bike pump – I’ve forgotten in my haste that pivotal component. Just a few pumps of air, and there’s a hiss! It’s a pretty obvious hole, and I am pleased. I grab the patches and the scuffing tool. The tool looks like a tiny cheese grater – I am suddenly a master chef making a delicious meal with Parmesan shavings on top, not a woman holding a rubber bike tire, sitting on the ground. Scuffing the tire around the hole is supposed to help the patch stick. I am pleased at each step that I’m remembering just how to do everything, from watching my uncle patch tires when I was a kid, and seeing it done at a Mike’s Bikes tutorial.
There’s a little sticker of a patch – I peel it off it’s backing and slap it onto the tire. Blammo. I just know it’s going to work. I tuck the tire back into its home, remembering to be careful, as I don’t want the wheel to pinch the rubber tire when I put it back onto the rim. I tuck the wheel back on with brute force. The sun is setting – I know I have time to put the goop into the tire, and I want the back-up solution so that it’ll be a guaranteed hole-in-one. I follow the instructions, and within minutes I am squeezing neon-green goo into my flat tire. I put the bike pump on, start pumping, and in a minute, I hear the distinct whooshing sound of air as my tire deflates.
No worries, the goop bottle says – the goo holds micro-particles that will be forced right to the hole and will block it, “instantly” fixing my tire.
I roll the tire around, as the instructions say. It deflates. I inflate it again, to listen to the whirring sound as the air passes right back out to be free in the world.
My hands got dirty, I made my best effort, but my tire is still flat.
That damned bike tire glop didn’t work for shit.
Luckily, my name stands for victory – it just doesn’t specify how long that’ll take. I will be back to biking, on a tire that I fixed the flat on myself – eventually!