|What greeted me yesterday in the garage at 630am.|
I had a plan to go on a bike ride on Catalina Island for my birthday. Catalina Express ferry service gives you a free round trip ticket on your birthday if you register online, saving the traveller $75 (not an insignificant amount). Bringing a bike is an extra $3.50 each way (as opposed to renting one, pot-luck quality, on the island, for $50), so I registered online, told them I was bringing a bike, prepared my Camelback, water bottles, almonds, fresh organic plums and apples, sun screen, helmet and bike gloves the night before my trip. Lacking complete foresight, I neglected to check the garage to make sure that my bike was in full working order. Duh.
I last rode it 2 weeks ago with Dr Desert Flower in Aliso Canyon, and incorrectly assumed it would be fine. The flat tire on the rear axel almost threw a wrench in my day's plans. I scrambled to find the patch kits that my son had recommended, and inhaled some breakfast rapidly, before Dr Desert Flower suggested the obvious "didn't you buy spare inner tubes?" Indeed I did! Thorn resistant, 29 x 1.75 Arvenir tubes with Presta vales!
So I removed my first-ever Presta valve nut, drew the tread out of the rim, extracted the flat inner tube, and inserted the replacement. Then, I tried, in complete futility to inflate the new tube. I didn't play close enough attention to how my son had changed a flat on DDF's bike in December, and had a Schrader vale mentality, which is completely counter-productive to inflating a Presta valve. BUt being an engineer, I figured it out after a little trial and error (I should have googled it here, but my hands were dirty and I didn't want to trash this brushed silver anodized aluminum Airbook's elegance).
Without too much trouble I found a very small but very tough small gauge wire that had penetrated the tread and punctured the OEM tube. Pliers were required to extract the little wire. I wanted to make sure to not just install a new tube that would immediately puncture from any lodged in debris. I remounted the tire tread, double checked the Presta valve, and my confidence grew that the bike would be in good shape again soon.
Tube inflated, then I deflated it (as my dad always taught me as a kid, to 'get the kicks out first') then re-inflated it again. Remounted the wheel back into the frame with surprising ease. The Shimano de-railer had good slack, the axle quick releases tightened back up without any issue. I tested the brakes, all was well. The 8:30am departure time from the house would not be missed!