It’s a sunny Sunday in Texas and early enough in the morning before the blistering heat. About 1030AM I air up the tires to 120 and set off for the lake. There is hardly any wind. At the lake, there are some people fishing, dogs at the dog park and the usual walkers, joggers and a couple of cyclists. My goal is 20 miles. This route includes a 2 mile loop around the lake. I was on lap 4 when an explosion occurred behind me. A burst of wind blew on my feet. My back tire immediately went flat. I was startled! Fortunately there was shade from a recently planted oak tree. I took out my spare tube and CO2 cartridges and began replacing my tube. There were two fisherman in front of me. Upon examination of the flat tube, a split at the seem was visible. I got to the point where I needed to fill up the new tube with CO2 just enough so that it wasn’t completely flat. That’s when the CO2 pump failed. As soon as I put on the CO2 cartridge it discharged at the threading and you can’t touch it to stop it because it instantly freezes. I had a full cartridge and two partials…all no good now. I thought I would at least get the tube and tire on to walk it home. A man who was walking came by and asked if I needed help. He didn’t have his tools, but offered me water. I was grateful and told him I’d be ok. I kept working on my tire, it’s so hard to get the last stretch of tire over the rim, but I kept trying. I went on with this for at least 30 minutes all the while fighting an attack by Texas ants. It’s so weird, you can sit or stand on a spot that appears clear, then they come up through the ground and start attacking. There really isn’t a place on the ground in Texas that is safe from ants.
A cyclist stopped by and asked me if I needed help. He said he had an air pump in his truck. Again grateful, I told him that would help! He returned with the pump and at the same time the walker had made another round and stopped to offer assistance. Unfortunately the air pump was for a mountain bike and not the presta valves for the road bike. Still both men helped me get the remaining 4 inches of tire over my rim which helped me get the bike into rolling condition. I was offered a ride and more water, even a phone in case I needed to call someone.
This is amazing to me. There were a few people that passed and of course the fishermen in front of me, it’s the cyclists that stop to help and even offer water. I really didn’t think anyone would offer to help. This was a pleasant surprise to my older eyes. At this point in life, taking care of my business on my own is what a strive for. Having the tools, and a spare tube on my bike along with replacement practice is preparation just for this problem. With the hotter temperatures, it wasn’t wise to fill the tubes to 120. They needed to be filled between 100-110.
Another lesson learned. You need to be prepared if you go out and ride. The cyclist that helped me mentioned he runs a lap around the lake and rides 4. It’s great exercise. I am amazed at how many people don’t pay attention to what is going on directly in front of them. They are looking back, sideways or even down and just don’t see a cyclist coming towards them. There is plenty of room to stay on the right side, however people walk directly in the middle of the path. Many oblivious! LOL!
I walked the 1.5 miles home in the heat with my clip in shoes on which is awkward. I could have asked the family for help, not today. What’s the rush? Getting home will just take longer. Instead, I looked more at my surroundings. Maybe there was something I was suppose to see or that the walk was an opportunity to think about something I was suppose to think about (Like next time figure a way to check the CO2 cartridges or get an air pump to include on the bike). Who knows! It was hot and I feel as though my shoulders were sunburned through my shirt! Once home, I filled the tire up with air and will complete the remaining 10 miles soon. A new tube and additional CO2 cartridges have been ordered!