Monday, June 7, 2010

This was a wreck, not a spill

I think I need to evaluate this whole blogging thing and its effect on my ego. As I wrecked today, in that milli-second of slow motion where I watched my front wheel turn under me, and felt my knee grind into the asphalt, my first thought was, "I'm glad I have my camera..."

To call this an accident would be charitable. The fact is, that adding up the pieces makes for an obvious spill.

Dumb thing #1: patching a patch. It's not because I'm cheap, god knows I'm happy to compulsively blow gobs of money on bike stuff. I patch a patch because I'm stubborn. And proud. I like the idea of getting as much life as possible out of a tube as possible. So. Here's what the blow out looks like.

#2 Not really dumb or obvious, but also not the first time this has happened thing: Air expands when it's warm. This morning, in my chilled (50 F?) garage, I pumped the tires on my 747 up to 80 psi. On my commute home it was over 70 and sunny. The streets I was riding on were hot.

So, the air in my tubes expanded a bit. Normally this would not be a problem, but with my cheesy patch on a patch, the pressure was too much. So the patch blew off and all the air escaped at once.

Most fortunately, I was just standing up and leaning into a turn as my front tire blew up -- one of those standing-pedaling power turns. Perfect time for the tire to blow.

Down I went. A couple good tumbles and rolls. And a perfect photo op.

One bent derailleur hanger. One super shanked derailleur. One busted up brake lever. One pebble embedded in palm. One messed up knee. One scraped shoulder. And yet another ripped wool tshirt. That hurts more than any of the other stuff!!


Unknown said...

Long time lurker here. Dude- Stan's your tubes and never have another flat unless your bike gets in a knife fight.
Syringe, 16 gauge needle or larger, a glueless patch over the hole. voila. Haven't had a road flat in 5 years, honest to gawd.

BillB said...

Must be the day for it.

Taking a few strong pedals to shoot up a little hill I heard my chain click like it was going to skip and then I felt my chest hit the stem and then my chin hit the ground.

Nothing in damage along the lines of what you managed to accumulate in terms of damage to self and bike, but a helluva way to start the day.

Now if you only new someone who is handy with bike frames...

Unknown said...

Gonzo blogging.

Hank Greer said...

Bummer. Wait, is, bluh...uh...blood (thump)?

Rachel said...


I almost feel like I must have been an omen to your day…

My husband and I cringed at the damage to you. Then he cringed at the damage to your bike. My cringe was pretty small, however. As I explained to my husband, "it will be ok. He's probably the biggest bike nerd in Spokane, he'll fix it."

John Speare said...

Bissorbpc -- I'm confused. But it might be residual effects of slight head trauma. But what are you saying?

Bill - and yet you still are out at this very minute climbing up tower mountain. I hang my head in shame.

Rachel - thanks. Not your fault. I also saw Geoff (owner of 2 wheel transit) on the way to work yesterday morning. Likely it's his fault. But I fixed the bike last night. I've been looking for a reason to use the dura ace derailleur and the hanger bent out ok. I love steel.

Ryan: gonzo blogging. I like it, but pretty milquetoast compared to HST.

Anonymous said...

Skin heals, steel bends back, but damn those ripped wool shirts! I feel your pain. wade

rory said...

if this were facebook:


Unknown said...

Hi John-
Sorry, it was a bit cryptic. I add 1.5 to 2 ounces of stan's tire sealant (used for tubeless mtb tires as you probably know) to my road tubes. Slime brand tubes are commercially available but I have heard they aren't as effective as the thinner sealant tubes. Specialized sold Airlock tubes containing a latex sealant once upon a time but I can't find them in Spokane. I guess flat's aren't as common here but in Arizona I would flat multiple times every ride without sealant on road or trail.
I add the Stan's with a syringe, (though I've heard some tubes have removable valve stems that allow addition through the stem), and seal the needle hole with a glueless patch. If you use a narrow needle, you can just install the tube, air it up, and let it seal itself. Narrow needles tend to clog with the larger latex particles in the Stan's though, so now I use a big needle and patch.
A bike shop in AZ demo'd the effectiveness of the Airlock tubes to me by sticking a screw driver fully into a mtb tire. Spun the wheel, sealed right up.
I don't suppose the system would work for pinch flats, but those aren't an issue with me.
I appreciate your blog, I've gotten quite a bit o' beta on cycling in the region.

Sandra B said...

John, There is a good chance I can mend your wool shirt. The scar will be similar to the one on your leg!

John Speare said...

bissorbpc -- Thanks for explaining. Sounds intereting. Are you a thick tube user or thin tube user? Or a whatever-is-available user? I'm interested in how the stan method impacts the ride of the tires, if at all.

I've heard many a flat horror story of the AZ goatheads.

Sandra: heck yeah! I have a couple wool t's that I've ripped in the last few weeks. I've had a string of spills. Perhaps we can work out a trade?

Dan O said...

Dude - patches on patches?


Sandra B said...

I love to barter! I am sure we can work something out.

Anonymous said...

Questionable quotations of John Speare:

"I never get flats."
"I'm really not that fast."
"It's not that far."
"It's a super-easy trail."
"I hate working on my bikes."
"Maybe just one beer."

doug said...

I've patched patches more than once. It hasn't caused a crash yet, but I guess that doesn't mean it's a good idea. Time to throw out half my tubes...

Unknown said...

John- I'm a whatever-tube's in stock guy.
You notice the weight of the sealant in the tube (doesn't bother me), but I can't discern any effect on the ride quality. You don't hear it sloshing around or anything. If anything, I think you can ride lighter, more supple tires with confidence.
I absolutely hate stopping to fix flats, even if I can do it in 4 minutes. Sweat streaming down my glasses, having to put the sweaty camel back or helmet back on, etc.
I've seen enough cyclists in triathlons or the cycling leg of multi-sport events lose 5 minutes to a flat and it blows my mind. Expensive events, easy insurance policy, negligible weight penalty.