I went for a ride last night. 32F when I left the house. 29F upon returning home. Google Maps told me my route was 13.2 miles. There’s a 24 hour McDonald’s at the 7 mile mark, and I figured this would be a good place to stop for a cup of coffee. And a tube patch. Ugh. What was once a bouncy, 85lb rear tire, went thump, thump-thump, thump, thump just as I turned in to their lot. A quick check led me to a very tiny sliver of glass. 1/16″ by 1/8″ at the most. 30 minutes later I had a solid tire and coffee. Being unsure of my repair abilities I made a bee-line for the super-market and then home, shortening my ride to 10.1 miles. The tire held. Thankfully.
I did learn a couple things.
1. Always, ALWAYS put the multi-tool back on the bike. I didn’t the last time I used it. Allen wrenches and car keys make for very poor tire levers.
2. Keep some lightweight gloves on the bike. I lucked out here. My winter gloves were nowhere to be found when I left, so I put on a pair of mechanics’ gloves for the ride. These have padded palms and knuckles, and are very nice for riding. $10 at Lowe’s. They don’t have any insulation or wind resistance. Fortunately, my winter gloves were in the trunk bag. I found them about 2 miles into the ride when I stopped to check my map. Having the mechanics’ gloves allowed me to work on the bike without bare hands.
3. Check your patch kit and make sure you understand how to use it. Mine was brand new. Never opened. I lucked out again. Everything was in there. The instructions, though written in German, were nicely illustrated. I should have familiarized myself with them a long time ago, considering that I haven’t fixed a flat since childhood.
4. Carry a spare tube and a tire boot. I had neither but didn’t need them.
All said, I was really very lucky last night. It could have been much, much worse. As in walking 3 miles home worse. The grand total: 10.1 miles in 2 hours. Ugh. I think I’ll do it again tonight.