The Gambler

06.9.2008 | 5:11 pm

For the past several weeks, I’ve been considering writing a post about how great the tubeless setup (I’m using traditional rims, the Stan’s NoTubes system, and Geax Saguaros) on my mountain bike has been working out. After all, I had not had a single MTB flat in more than a year.

Each time I thought about writing that post, though, I backed away. That would be inviting a flat, and no mistake.

Now, however, I’m going to have to re-evaluate my superstition. Evidently you don’t even have to mention your good luck in avoiding flats to jinx yourself. All you’ve got to do is think about it in order to get one.

Just thinking about it’s enough.

As you’ve no doubt guessed, today when I was on a ride — coming down the South side of Hogg’s Hollow — it happened. I hit a big rock good and solid. My 20psi front tire (yes, I really have been riding at 20psi on my MTB, and quite happily so) was no match for it. I pinched open a nice 1/8″ cut, and the air immediately began hissing out.

When you’re riding with tires that use sealant, that hissing is your cue to get really religious, really fast. Because if you pray to Alfonzo, patron saint of liquid latex and inflated rubber devices, fervently enough, there’s a decent chance that the sealant will…well…seal. And then you can ride off triumphantly, knowing that where others would have been stopped cold by such a nasty puncture, you can feel free to merrily continue on your merry way.

This time, however, I would not be merry. No, not merry. Quite the contrary.

The Gamble
The hissing didn’t stop until there was no air in the tires. I rolled to a stop, confronted with a monumental decision:

Would the tire seal up if I put some more air in it and spun the tire around for a minute?

This question was monumental for the following reason: I had only one CO2 cartridge.

You see where I’m going with this? Here were my options, and potential consequences:

  • Put in a tube. This, of course, was the safe approach. It would almost certainly work. But it would take time. And it would make a mess, in the form of a gooey, latex-soaked rimstrip I’d have to stow in my jersey pocket, not to mention all that surplus liquid latex sloshing around in the tire. Yuck.
  • Put air in the tire and hope it seals. If it seals, I win! I get to continue on, blithely and somewhat smugly. But if it doesn’t seal, I’m super-screwed, because then I’m out of CO2, I’m four miles from home, I don’t have a phone with me, and I need to be home in an hour to take Susan to radiation.

So of course I put air in the tire, hoping it would seal. Because I am an idiot, that’s why.

Of course, it didn’t seal. Or rather: of course it didn’t seal.

Two miles of downhill hike-a-biking later (I bummed a ride for the final two miles, allowing me to avoid the acute embarrassment of walking my bike on paved roads), I’ve learned my lesson. No more gambling for me.

Unless I feel like I might win, of course.

PS: As I was walking my bike down the trail, two different riders passed me. I made eye contact and fully expected the traditional “Need any help?” question. Both times, the guys just rode on. No help offered. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that.


  1. Comment by AlicesYellowPorsche | 06.9.2008 | 5:20 pm

    Anytime you blog or speak about something that is infallible, it fails. Just to spite you, not because it isn’t infallible. Thats mean of the other riders not to ask if you needed help. WIN Susan.

  2. Comment by montanapat | 06.9.2008 | 5:24 pm

    I am afraid to really comment in fear of flatting. However I have found myself on that same walk more than once!

    Win Susan!

  3. Comment by Jared | 06.9.2008 | 5:29 pm

    What? 2 people and no one asked if you need help? That’s just unforgivable…they’ve broken the #1 rule of mountain biking and the gods will punish them! Hopefully their tubes exploded and their frames buckled at the exact moment they were out of sight.

    I’m still running tubes…with only one flat. I’m a bigger guy at 214 and I’ve been running around 30-35psi. Now I’m sure my luck will run out…

    Win Susan!!!

  4. Comment by jt | 06.9.2008 | 5:31 pm

    There is no “wrap my head around that” needed. Both those guys were asshats. Perhaps they’ll have an opportunity to contemplate that when the flat is on the other bike.

    Win Susan!

  5. Comment by Adrian | 06.9.2008 | 5:54 pm

    All I can say is … bike pump. It is entertaining to watch someone make a hash of their last CO2 cylinder and then smile and offer them the use of a pump.

    I get fed up with the number of heroes who I see evidence of that have somehow been able to carry the massive weight of a spare tube and CO2 cylinders when they head out on a ride, but go all weak and woozy and have to dump the punctured tube and empties in the bush at the side of the track. Would be happy to help insert them somewhere that’d make them easy to carry home, if a tad uncomfortable in the seating.

  6. Comment by KeepYerBag | 06.9.2008 | 5:55 pm

    And in your final words I’ve found an ace that I can keep.

  7. Comment by vXhanz | 06.9.2008 | 6:02 pm

    Many years ago in junior high I ran into trouble with my rear hub, turns out I broke the spindle (and later bearings as well) after going off some curbs. At the time I didn’t know anything about bikes… I just knew the rear wheel wasn’t rolling anymore. My brother and I were on a public bike path and a cyclist stopped to help us. The guy got covered in grease and grime trying to help us out when moments before he was clean as a whistle. I’ll never forget the help that guy offered to two strange kids he never met before.

    So yeah… those two guys were asshats.

    WIN Susan!!!

  8. Comment by Marla | 06.9.2008 | 6:14 pm

    I don’t get that not stopping to help bit. Even if I don’t have the right tube or tools, at least I’ll ask if there’s anything I can do to help.

    Random tangent. When I used to ride with the bike club in Indiana, I was amazed at how many people did not carry anything to fix a flat. And how many had no idea how to use any of the stuff. Maybe those cyclists didn’t have the tools to help out, so they didn’t think to stop. I think I’m trying to put a positive spin here.

    Carry spare tubes, tools, a pump and offer to help. When you give up a tube, ask them to carry one next time(instead of paying for it, most want to do this) and give it up if another cyclist needs it.

  9. Comment by Flyin' Ute | 06.9.2008 | 6:25 pm

    I don’t know what an asshat is but I’m going to agree with everyone else that those two guys were indeed that. A couple of Jackholes is what I would call them. Everybody takes a turn sooner or later and you might as well help out when given the opportunity.

    Also, I am about 235 lbs and have not made the jump to Stans. NOt sure that weight matters here or not but I flat about once every 5 rides. Am I missing something by not using Stans? I ride with 45 psi because it seems to keep my heavy self rolling faster. I don’t mind the rougher ride and lack of traction 97% of the time. Thoughts?

  10. Comment by Dana | 06.9.2008 | 6:51 pm

    What is wrong with people! Just common courtesy says you stop and offer help. Unfortunately, its becoming to common.

    What comes around goes around – unless, maybe they were jealous of your jersey? LOL.

  11. Comment by Old Fat & Slow | 06.9.2008 | 6:56 pm

    I am a confirmed luddite when it comes to tires and tubes. A spare tube, a couple feet of duct tape and a patch kit have always been enough to get me home. I haven’t yet been punished for giving away my spare tube (there, I’ve said it. Guaranteed serious flat next time I do that). Seems like all the messing around with rim strips, sealant and all that stuff isn’t worth the 14 grams or whatever weight that’s saved. Mind you, I’m 210 and a little weight loss would make a lot more difference than tubeless.

  12. Comment by KanyonKris | 06.9.2008 | 7:15 pm

    Who’d have suspected you’d have a bad karma day, what with how things have been lately. Not just the flat, but 2 other riders pass and not offer help?! That indeed is Twilight Zone stuff. Have you heard any voices that sound like Rod Sterling today?

  13. Comment by Emily | 06.9.2008 | 7:15 pm

    Some version of your story is what rolls through my head whenever I get tempted to try the Stan’s.

  14. Comment by Rick S. | 06.9.2008 | 7:39 pm

    I will avoid any comment about this topic. I know how this game works.

  15. Comment by Catri | 06.9.2008 | 7:41 pm

    Murphy’s Law, my friend…

    As for the guys who didn’t even show concern… well, all I can say about that is what goes around comes around. Those guys will probably be cycling in Deliverance country one of these days and have some lovely, intimate moments with the locals…

  16. Comment by bob | 06.9.2008 | 8:14 pm

    I flatted and got rained on while fixing the flat today, so I feel your pain. And a bum held an umbrella over me while I fixed it, and offered me a beer when I was done. Comedy gold. I love chicago.

  17. Comment by calvin | 06.9.2008 | 8:26 pm

    I used to fear the flat but now openly laugh in the face of more flatties. Why? Because the other mojo wasn’t working so I switched teams. I openly admit and am damned proud to say I NEVER get flats and I NEVER get sick!

    Blasphemy you say? 2.5 years w/no flats and 11 years running without a cold!

  18. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 06.9.2008 | 8:34 pm

    Uh, sorry, I would have stopped but I was pretty hungry and I had twinkies and Dr. Pepper in my car.

    I thought you were walking because you were scared to ride your bike down the hill.

    I thought you were walking so you could break in a new pair of mt bike shoes.

    I would have stopped, but I thought you were training for a bike-walking/donut eating/crawling triathlon. ’cause it looked like you’d been training for eating donuts. You should really think about sucking in your gut while you walk with your bike.

    Oh, THAT’s why you were walking. I couldn’t fathom why someone would be walking down Hog Hollow with a bike. Now it totally makes sense.

  19. Comment by joe | 06.9.2008 | 8:47 pm

    I remember having a similar experience early in my biking “career” I was riding down the temple quarry trail and my tire exploded. I wrecked hard, broke a rib, my hand, and road rash all over. I had at least 5 or 6 people pass me all covered in blood, dragging my bike the final mile to my car..No one offered to help, or even said a thing..Ass hats?? Yeah our sport is infested with them…

  20. Comment by Ritcheyboy | 06.9.2008 | 9:11 pm

    Sorry to hear about the Ass jackets you encountered. I always ask if they are ok when I pass someone who is stopped. Mtn. or Road. It is rule no 1. That’s is one of the small things that separates someone who gets the cycling community from the rest (posers).

  21. Comment by sk8ermom3 | 06.9.2008 | 9:44 pm

    What, you didn’t shout “Thanks for asking, I’m fine!” at them? or “Dumbass, next time I see YOUR shirt walking, I’ll ride by you too!” That said, I can’t afford to gamble anymore either. Too many people back at the house waiting for food, transport, money, and other things, so I leave equipped for an expedition.
    Wore my pink jersey this weekend at a charity ride.


  22. Comment by KC | 06.9.2008 | 9:48 pm

    I had the same thing happen today! I got about an 1/8 inch cut to the tire and for the first time the stans did not seal the hole. I tried the CO2 didn’t work. Luckily I had another CO2 and a pump. I changed my tire and added a tube. Pumped up the tire, and then the valve stem broke. Tire went flat again. I walked up the trail and a rider came by and he helped. Offered me his tube. Unfortunately his tube had to have 3 patches, and they didn’t hold up. Tire flated again. Lucky for me the rider was a mile away and was able to take me to my car 3.5 miles away. I got to return the favor when I got to town and saw a rider pushing his bike with a flat tire. By the way I love Stans and will have the next tire with Stans.

  23. Comment by rachel | 06.9.2008 | 10:17 pm

    Well, of course they recognized you from the blog and thought they’d be interrupting a really good future post by asking if you need help. Either that or they recognized you and were sure that you have other superpowers you have not yet acknowledged publicly.

  24. Comment by Richard | 06.9.2008 | 10:21 pm

    Yeah, I have been there in the middle of nowhere and lost my tire irons, luckily a lady came by and let me use hers. A week later I passed on a tube to a stranded bicyclist. You have to pass the karma on….(and knock on wood)

    Win Susan.

  25. Comment by Richard | 06.9.2008 | 10:23 pm

    Oh yeah, I wore my pink jersy (2007 model) during the Colorado Elephant rock ride on June 1st. I got one comment from a passing cyclist. All he said was “that jersey is hard to come by…” Yes it is.

    Win Susan

  26. Comment by mark | 06.9.2008 | 10:31 pm

    Flyin’ Ute–you’d likely get fewer flats even at lower air pressure with Stan’s. With no tube, you don’t get snakebite/pinch flats except in catastrophic circumstances or cases of extreme negligence, such as riding a rigid bike down a rocky trail with only 20 psi in your tires.

    I found that anything under 30 psi, and I am asking for trouble keeping the tire on the rim with all the air inside. Tubeless is less about weight savings and more about avoiding flats. I would tell you how long it’s been since I’ve had a flat, but I too know how this game works.

  27. Comment by c | 06.9.2008 | 10:33 pm


    You could have tried stuffing the tube with leaves

  28. Comment by CLBlood | 06.9.2008 | 10:49 pm

    Years ago I was walking near a shopping mall. A roadie was standing next to his bicycle. It was lying on the pavement. I struck up a conversation. He told me he fell. I mean he just got up. Then I noticed his clothes were torn. His handlebar was cattywampus. He was bleeding. Don’t know if his helmet was cracked. I asked if I could help. He said no. I should have insisted.

  29. Comment by Solo | 06.9.2008 | 11:24 pm

    Know the game too well… last season I passed on a tube sale due to the overwhelming cockiness that I had not had a F&*# for years… right after had three in one week two being during the same ride. Not good. Was riding out in the boondocks not long ago and came across a guy trying to fix his new Mustang….. scared the bejesus out of him but even asked him if he needed any help. Shoot, I even ask joggers if they need help. May the bad karma of the masses fall upon those two ingrates.
    Fight On Susan and Fatty.

    (was that jackholes?…. I like that may send ya a nickle when I use it)

  30. Comment by Dobovedo | 06.10.2008 | 12:11 am

    not to defend the 2 riders who passed you by, shame on them.

    but I gotta ask… what were you doing out there without a cell phone? shame on you.

    In this day and age, offers of help are becoming fewer and further between. a) everybody is scared of everybody else, and b) it is assumed that everyone has a cell phone.

    sad but (generally) true

  31. Comment by buckythedonkey | 06.10.2008 | 12:40 am

    Er, lose! ;-)

    On more-than-day-long MTB trips and at all times on the road I carry a huge Zefal HPX pump clipped into my frame. It forms the centrepiece of my cynical strategy to make friends in cycling and, you know, it works.

    My preferred call when I see a rider not on his/her bike for any reason is a quick “got all you need?”. As for the two guys who passed you. Pffffft to you. They’re the losers here (although, not being a mind reader, it wouldn’t stop me from offering them help) not least because they missed out on a chance meeting with a Bloggie-winning Web legend!

  32. Comment by mike | 06.10.2008 | 2:31 am

    wait i’m meant to stop on the down hills too!? Just kidding. vXhanz is right those guys are asshats.

    Hes also given me a new word for the day.

  33. Comment by Al Maviva | 06.10.2008 | 3:15 am

    The reason they didn’t stop is you had a 4″ tall flashing red “I” on your forehead, which is short for “IDIOT!”

    They were afraid that if they stopped, your utter lack of sense would rub off on them, and next thing you know, they’d be trying to run lower air pressure than they’d ever run before on the old Triple B Trail (Big Boulders & Babyheads), leaving the water bottles and Camelback at the car to save weight on the two hour climb, and a bunch of other stupid and inadvisable tactics.

    When a rider has bad karma or contagious stupidity going on, other riders realize this and ride around him as if he had airborne leprosy. Frankly I’m surprised they rode past you. Having been a frequent sufferer of the exact same disease, I might have turned around before getting to you, just to make sure I didn’t suffer a relapse.

    Of course not stopping to help is a sign they were suffering from stupidity too, so maybe all three of you rode through a patch of Stupid Ivy somewhere on the trail. It’s like Poison Ivy, but worse. You ride through a patch of Stupid Ivy, and the next thing you know you’re riding fixed gear mountain bikes, humming T’Pau songs, signing up for La Ruta de Conquistadores, and telling your wife the truth about how you unflinchingly paid full retail on that new Colnago C-50. If you’re on a group ride you can tell if the group has gone through a patch of Stupid Ivy, because everybody will be attempting things that by law must be preceded by the warning, “Hey everybody, watch this!”

  34. Comment by Bluenoser | 06.10.2008 | 4:07 am

    Cattywampus. I love learning new words. A jerk is still a jerk no matter what they are riding fatty.


  35. Comment by Swedoz | 06.10.2008 | 4:37 am

    To quote the lovely AngryProf those guys were absolute Cum-burbling trout-fucking asshats. Hmmmm that feels better. Yes sometimes the concussed roadie needs to be forced to accept help but then we all know roadies are a bit slow ;-)

  36. Comment by hana | 06.10.2008 | 4:39 am

    I guess a bike trail in Utah is not much different than a street here in the City of Angels. Or Hartford Conn. where a couple of weeks ago they have that video of that 78 year old man no one seemed to help initially in that hit and run.

    People wonder why when I use the elevator, I at least have my cell phone – I guess they’ve never been stuck in an elevator before for hours.

    Win Susan!

  37. Comment by Mike Roadie | 06.10.2008 | 5:04 am

    You should never gamble, except for when you should; know what I mean…….
    I don’t think it was wise to put Susan’s Dr. appt in as the stakes, however. I wouldn’t, and now my wife is cleaning out the entire garage for me as a Father’s Day present!
    I’m not sayin’……..I’m just sayin’


  38. Comment by Bjorn 4 Lycra | 06.10.2008 | 6:38 am

    Al manages to put into words exactly what everybody else is not thinking and yet when he’s finished we all give him credit for his thoughts. Everbody else has a crack at the two numpties that did not stop and he has a crack at our favourite fat dude on a bike for expecting them to stop.
    I must say I always stop not because I am any help mechanically but I always carry my mobile phone and I mean always – you can bet on it! It’s not for me you understand but in case I can offer help to some dopey rider who is not carrying theirs. Good point Dobovedo.
    Hope the radiation went well. Lots of Love Susan.

  39. Comment by Boz | 06.10.2008 | 7:29 am

    I kept having my stupid saddle keep tilting back, and had to stop to tighten it. The trail wasn’t busy, but I still had people stop to see if they could help. Short of a tig welder, they couldn’t. I got it tight enough to ride, but had to take it easy over bumps. I ordered a new post yesterday. BTW, no one can be fully prepared for all enventualities, short of a support vehicle following you around w/ a spare bike and kit. Not likely.

  40. Comment by Orbea Girl | 06.10.2008 | 7:37 am

    Recently, I stopped to assist someone with a puncture. The elderly gentleman was somewhat apologetic that a woman had come to his rescue until I pointed out that I wasn’t going to change his wheel, oh no, the next bloke to come round the corner was going to do it. I sent him off behind the bush with my bike and waited. Within no time at all, six blokes came around the corner, halted, leapt off their bikes and proceeded to change the wheel. As they took their leave, the youngest member of the sextet gave me back the bike. He looked at me and then looked at the bike and said “This isn’t your bike, is it?”. “Well spotted”, I replied. “It belongs to the old chap behind the bush, no one stopped to assist him, so I decided to give him a helping hand. I do know how to mend a puncture but I have never, ever had to do it because Frenchmen are so chivalrous.

    Best wishes to Susan and all the FC family.

  41. Comment by TomE | 06.10.2008 | 7:41 am

    Bad KARMA for those two riders….you ALWAYS ask someone on the trail if they need help!!!!

  42. Comment by LanterneRouge | 06.10.2008 | 7:50 am

    Doesn’t Saint Alfonzo also have something to do with pancakes breakfasts?

  43. Comment by Ethan | 06.10.2008 | 7:54 am

    I had an experience that was almost EXACTLY THE SAME. My tire stopped leaking with about 2 psi in it. I had but one CO2 cartridge. Using the exact same line of thinking (use the spare tube vs. gamble with adding air), I made the same decision and suffered the same consequence.

    I wish that you had posted this story two months ago.

  44. Comment by Rob L | 06.10.2008 | 8:04 am

    That experience sucks, I rolled my front tire off at around 28 psi while doing some whoop-de’s, taking a long curve tight. The mile and 3/4’s push out sucked, and no hand pump I’ve found will re-inflate a tubeless. I need to get a co2 setup and a few cartridges I guess.

    Bummer that those guys were tools, I had 3 people ask me if I needed assistance on my way out.

    But yes thinking about any mechanical issue is an invitation for it to occur it seems.

  45. Comment by Aunt B | 06.10.2008 | 8:08 am

    “Alfonzo, the patron Saint of Liquid Latex”, has a cousin. His name is Gorge, the patron saint of Karma….and he has a 6 pack of “Whoop Hat” waiting for your empathy impaired trail companions. Losers!

  46. Comment by Miles Archer | 06.10.2008 | 8:13 am

    Orbea girl. LOL!

  47. Comment by Ronin | 06.10.2008 | 8:18 am

    I was just finishing up a ride the other day, about a mile from home when I got a flat. Not a problem except for 2 things: 1-I was at one of only a handful of stoplights in the glorious village of Payson (by far the most busy spot in town.) And 2 that I only noticed the flat as I tried to turn in gravel, bad move, down I went. At least 20 people had to have seen it and nobody asked if I was OK or anything, totally lame.

  48. Comment by carolyn | 06.10.2008 | 8:22 am

    I don’t know anything about the biking so I got a big HUH while reading but then I got to the end and it was in English again. So whatEVER with the people not offering to help you when your um sealant leaked with a pissy sound… or something like that.

  49. Comment by Si | 06.10.2008 | 8:40 am

    I’ve been running Stan’s for about 6 months now and it’s been no problem at all. I even think that the bike is a little quicker now but that is probably psychological. As for the guys not stopping, that’s inexcusable. In the UK I know of people who have stopped to offer assistance during endurance races…my friend Malin had four guys stop to help her during a race recently…I like to think that that is bacause they’re true mountain bikers who’d help anyone out, in a race or just out on the trails…not just because she’s cute ;-)

  50. Comment by BellaCroix | 06.10.2008 | 8:54 am

    Can’t believe two riders passed you and didn’t acknowledge a rider in trouble.

    I’ve passed a couple riders changing flats and always at least slow to ask “need help”… sometimes it’s a blessing (i.e. “yeah, that ride took longer than I expected but I had to help a guy with a flat who forgot wheel levers); Other times I’m happy when they say they’re good (i.e. those rare days where everything is just meshing perfectly and I could ride for days).

    I was shocked last week when I was 15 miles into a decent ride (having one of those “mesh” days where everything is perfect) when I bonked, ended up riding back at 1/4 of my normal pace – was shocked at how many other roadies realized I was having problems and probably recognized the face of exhaustion and slowed long enough to ride alongside to make sure I was okay.

    Guess I looked worse than I felt.

  51. Comment by Susan (another one) | 06.10.2008 | 9:04 am

    Yep, they were asshats.

    Yesterday, I had a flat and decided to walk home and change it in the AC. A very nice man, who I walked by as he was mowing his yard, apparently stopped mowing to get in his Jeep, come get me, and take me home.

    He is beyond nice.

  52. Comment by joew310 | 06.10.2008 | 9:08 am

    Those 2 guys must have been roadies.

  53. Comment by chtrich | 06.10.2008 | 9:14 am

    Spare tubes for the win. Sure the under the saddle bag is large, but I can usually get myself home even on a bad day.

    Fatty – got any more details on the Triathalon?

  54. Comment by Matt | 06.10.2008 | 9:16 am

    I don’t offer help. Sorry. If you need help, you should ask. If you ask, I’ll help.

    Cancer sucks. I had it. WIN SUSAN!

  55. Comment by MAJ Mike | 06.10.2008 | 9:58 am

    You people are scaring me.

    I just got my first mtn bike (have been a roadie and tri guy) and I’ll be breaking it in on Franklin Mountain in El Paso, TX. I’ve been warned about thorns up there and got the heavy duty tubes and sealant as recommended by the shop. I’m carrying a spare basic tube and a mini pump in the backpack. Why do I suddenly feel like I am going to spend my whole trail time switching tubes. Damn it.

    As for helping others, a real cyclist helps. Period. Otherwise you have to carry an entire bike shop in a saddle bag on all rides.

  56. Comment by Flyin' Ute | 06.10.2008 | 10:35 am

    Botched, you are funny man. I’m glad you stopped me the other day so I have a face with a name.

    I think I will try stans out.

    No need to pay a nickel. It keeps me from swearing to combine jack#@$ and #@$hole together into jackhole.

    Also, I flatted a month ago on my way to squaw peak by way of the canal. I had a patch and a co2 but no trigger. I spotted a house with a pump but it was schrader. the guy called his neighbors…no one home. He took me to the bike shop…it was still closed. He took me 20 min. back home to pump it up and then back to his house. Great conversation. Great guy. His name is Bud Lethbridge. Tell him thanks again if you know him.
    I am Mike Lewis the Flyin’ Ute for those that didn’t know. (Utah backed out of their promise to let me skydive the gameball into the BYU-UTAH game my Sr. year. But I’m still the Flyin’ Ute!!)

  57. Comment by Clydesteve | 06.10.2008 | 10:39 am

    Elden, I am gob-smacked that you thought about bragging about lack of flats. And then went riding with 1 CO2 and zero mini pumps.

  58. Comment by Clydesteve | 06.10.2008 | 11:00 am

    I bragged about my air pressure / tube style / etc. philosophies having kept me free from road flats for a year on a cycling message board the other day.

    Next day, I flat on the way to work. But as i was patching it in front of a grade school, before school hours, the maintenance guy comes out inan SUV and offers help. Pulling his chain a little, I asked if he knew how to fix bicycle tires? “No, but my son has a mobile bicycle repair truck – I could call him.” I thanked him and declined, but was grateful that he was not a jackhole.

    My point? I challenged Gorge, the god of cycling karma, and lost. Never brag about flat invulnerability!

  59. Comment by Clydesteve | 06.10.2008 | 11:04 am

    BTW, Fatty, I think we all know that you knew you could not get away with your foolishness. Your eagarness to entertain is much appreciated, and seems to know no bounds. Thanks for caring about your readers enough to call down disaster upon yourself for a good story. It is too much, really.

  60. Comment by Mocougfan | 06.10.2008 | 11:09 am

    Not stopping to help or even ask is just rediculous. I got a flat this morning. I was riding with a friend. If he hadn’t of stopped I would have been forced to throw a rock at him. Hard.

    Win Susan!

  61. Comment by Al Maviva | 06.10.2008 | 11:14 am

    Born4Lycra said:

    Al manages to put into words exactly what everybody else is not thinking

    I don’t recommend it for everybody, but independent thought generally works for me. For people who don’t really think about much of anything, I would encourage starting small, just trying to think like everybody else for a while before making that big leap into the unknown. For instance, you could start with something small, like Kittens. Everybody loves kittens, and it won’t strain your brain to think about kittens. See? After a while, it won’t be hard to think about soft, fuzzy, warm kittens, just like everybody else thinks about them. Then you can think about something a little harder, like fettucine alfredo. A lot of people like it and like thinking about it, but a lot of people don’t. After you’ve mastered that, you can think about lutefisk. Not everybody likes thinking about lutefisk, in fact, some people are probably repelled by it and can’t bear thinking about it, and probably only a few people really like to think about it at all, and they have funny breath. So lutefisk is tough. After you’ve mastered thinking about lutefisk, you may be ready for an original thought or two. Insulting your friends, using weird metaphors, saying freaky, out-of-place things, like commenting on the boss’s daughter’s nice butt at the company picnic… a whole new world is opened up for you. Let your freak flag fly, Born4! Just be careful, and don’t reinvent communism, A-bombs, or the Biopace chainring, m’kay?

  62. Comment by Jim Hart | 06.10.2008 | 11:14 am

    Hey there….

    I think 20 lbs… is just too little. I always run at least 28. Try a fatter tire up front if you need the extra cushion. I’ve survived with as little as 23 on a real UST rim (Mavic 819) and a 2.4 Specialized Enduro tire.. but… I just feel more comfortable with 28.

    I say don’t give up on tubeless just yet. That said, I always carry 1 C02, 1 tube, and a really light pump.

    P.S. I’m a new reader. I think you and your whole family are awesome and wish you the best.

  63. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 06.10.2008 | 11:15 am

    O’Toole’s corollory – Murphy was an optimist.

    “No help offered. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that.” It’s summer, it’s 90+, they cared more about getting home in the A/C than they did about you.

  64. Comment by Barb | 06.10.2008 | 11:17 am

    Asshats really does sum it up.

    I normally can’t do much to help a fellow cyclist in need, but I always stop, and at least I’ve always got my cell phone. If I could make a call and get somebody to come and pick up a stranger in need, I’d do it. Jerk wads.

  65. Comment by blinddrew | 06.10.2008 | 11:27 am

    Asshats is an interesting and good word. i shall use it henceforth to describe asshats who don’t stop when someone else clearly has a problem.

  66. Comment by Richie | 06.10.2008 | 11:41 am

    We have a name in Cork 4 d kind of ungracious people who passed u. There called langers(Now u no a word of Cork slang:))


  67. Comment by rungirl | 06.10.2008 | 12:03 pm

    I’m confident that I’m the only one here who has been on my mtn bike just once this year (to the ice cream shop with my kids). And except for tri’s (mtn, road, and a half ironman) I’m not much of a biker. I appreciate that which I don’t have – the leg strength required for biking. You people are tough! But I do have endurance… I’m a marathoner, adding a trail ultra to my resume in September. Which brings me to testing the gods… I have recently begun verbally expressing my gratefulness about how lucky I am to have run all my marathons in great weather. I uttered those words first after my last marathon in April and knew I was doomed the moment they left my lips. Guess what that means for the ultra in September. Anyone know what to carry for freezing rain or when Gu will no longer help scale the hills on foot?

    There’s my unabridged and unsolicited biography.

    Fatty, I was turned on to this site by my husband – an avid biker who loves self deprecating humor and long winded women. (He will tell the story of how I asked him out the first time because I liked how he looked in his bike shorts, though I don’t tell it very often). He’s tried to get your jersey but oddly, XL and XXL were the first sizes to sell out. Hey – how about an emergency re-issuance for Father’s Day???

    I enjoy reading your blog and wish you, Susan and your family well.

  68. Comment by Jay Peitzer | 06.10.2008 | 12:06 pm

    I find that carrying spare tubes patch kit pump co2s is sort of like the cycling equivalent of backing up data. No one does it until after they have the problem. I have stopped to help many stranded cyclists and have been helped more often then i’d care to admit. But i have taught several people how to repair a flat (always after the fact) and have given and received many a spare tube. It’s cycling etiquette. I guess what it boils down to is selfish people who just frankly don’t know any better. Somewhere along the line they will find out one way or another….or not.
    WIN SUSAN!!!!!

  69. Comment by Rachel J | 06.10.2008 | 12:22 pm

    I can’t believe the 2 people didn’t stop. That’s really sad. All you needed was a CO2 cartridge, and there’s a good chance one of them had an extra. I hope karma gets them good.

  70. Comment by bikemike | 06.10.2008 | 12:23 pm

    the “two who will remain nameless” and didn’t stop are the same people who you see out on the road and don’t wave back when you wave at them first. these muggles are always in training mode and can’t be bothered with mundane muckery, such as helping with flats and just generally being nice. you should be happy they didn’t stop to help because you would’ve heard nothing but whining and complaining. losers.

  71. Comment by Emily | 06.10.2008 | 12:40 pm

    Whatphone? Cellwhat? Unless like my guts were spilling out or something I wouldn’t place a cellphone call from a trail. I certainly wouldn’t do it for a flat… how would anyone come get you? How would you tell them where you were?
    I am of the opinion that if you have a mechanical and you can’t do field repair, well, then, you have a nice hike in front of you. Actually sometimes that can be kind of cool… one time after my rear der exploded I saw a mountain lion. Awesome.

  72. Comment by Emily | 06.10.2008 | 12:42 pm

    Those jerks should have stopped though.

  73. Comment by NW | 06.10.2008 | 12:48 pm

    There’s always the exception to the rule, and maybe that’s what the deal was with the cyclists you saw. They apparently haven’t yet learned the unwritten code between bike lovin’ people and when a brother/ sister is in need out there. Too bad for them because the one who stops and helps or asks if help is needed gets more out of it than the one who needs something.

  74. Comment by Boz | 06.10.2008 | 1:04 pm

    Al – tonight I’m bachin’ it, so me and my cat(Elliot Dollarhyde)and I will dine on Lutefisk alfredo and a nice chiante. Then watch Manhunter, our favorite Michael Mann movie. Thanks for helping me think outside the box.

  75. Comment by Boz | 06.10.2008 | 1:05 pm

    Boz – nice sentance. Kicked out of the 3rd grade for shaving, I guess.

  76. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 06.10.2008 | 5:57 pm

    I started biking because of a flat. I was on my daily commute to school when the fateful event occurred. An old (40ish, thinking back on it now) English couple offered to fix it. What self respecting 14 year old with a valid excuse to skip school wouldn’t take the help? They asked if I wanted to ride in a club so I met up that weekend and the rest is history.

    Serendipitously, they had a hot daughter who stole my heart and 5 years of my life and this is a G rated venue so I’m stopping there.

  77. Comment by joliver3 | 06.10.2008 | 7:42 pm

    All this CO2 escaping wantonly into the atmosphere — the horror!

  78. Comment by joliver3 | 06.10.2008 | 7:43 pm

    PS – Glad to see you’re back to your usual humorous line of posting. I hope that means things are continuing to go well w/Susan.


  79. Comment by John the Lawyer | 06.10.2008 | 7:59 pm

    Might have been roadies? Same rules apply on the asphalt: Help thy neighbor or may God smite me with pinch flats.

    Asshats on the trail, Buttmunchers on the road. Or Langers. That works, too.

    I carry a spare tube and a pump in my car. Freaks bikers out when I stop and can help. Pay it forward whenever you can.

    WIN SUSAN!!!!


  80. Comment by BellaCroix | 06.10.2008 | 11:48 pm

    Hell, I keep a floor pump, a few tubes and a tool kit in my trunk and a rack on the back of my car pretty much all year round. Many of my friends commute more than 25 miles to work and they all have my cell number.

    I’ll admit to hoping break-downs on the road have everything they need so I can keep riding, but when I’m petrol-powered I’m always available to help out.

    Figure it keeps my Karma in check.

    Of course, tomorrow I’ll have a flat.

  81. Comment by Little1 | 06.11.2008 | 1:12 am

    Now the below post is the proper approach to helping out and karma:

  82. Comment by Onan the Barbarian | 06.11.2008 | 10:12 am

    Not offering help isn’t cool.

    Personally, I carry a few CO2 carts, several sizes of tubes and a multi-tool in my Camelback. I have even stopped to help fellow riders in MTB races (back when I did such things).

    I was able surprise a single-speed rider by having the multi-tool and was able to reattach his crank arm.


  83. Comment by Karl | 06.11.2008 | 1:02 pm

    You saw ghost riders dude. Cool.

  84. Comment by Duane | 06.11.2008 | 9:07 pm

    Doing a 6 hr ride in Tn (Disc Burner) – I crashed and injured my shoulder bad enough I couldn’t hold on to the bar. I was about 1/2 way into the 9 mile loop. I ended up doing a hike a bike out. Except for a few douche bags most asked me if I was alright. One guy seeing I was hurt walked with me up a hill – or maybe he was tired. Either way I appreciated it.

    Sitting in the Morristown ER with my New Fat Cyclist jersey was not how I pictured the day.

  85. Comment by mirco | 06.11.2008 | 10:48 pm

    damn you, fattie. I read this post, and the next day got TWO almost flats the very next day.

    I started my ride to my rim tapping the ground on a slow leak, pumped it up, by the time I got to work, I was leaning all the way forward to not wreck the tubentire. Fixed that, on the way home, I hear this tickticktickticktickticktickticktick coming from the front wheel, reveals to be a rock 1/2″ long, 1/4″ wide in my tire. Somehow it didn’t puncture the tube, but I had to boot the tire (used a cheque folded over a few times, worked like a charm, the 1/4″ cut didn’t spread a bit, even with talc in the tire) Cross my fingers for another few months trouble-free riding, I’ve put in my dues today.

  86. Comment by judi | 06.12.2008 | 3:07 pm

    I can’t believe those bitches passed you on the trail and didn’t offer help. Karma will get them. Believe that.

  87. Comment by jarocco | 06.12.2008 | 3:47 pm

    I am a road cyclist and had a similar experience in Door County, WI earlier this week. I had a flat. No big deal; I always care a spare tube and a small pump as well as CO2. I can usually get it fixed in 15 minutes. That said, guy pedals by, slightly uphill so he’s not really going very fast, my age (58) and absolutely no recognition whatsoever. I even waved. Nothing. Asshat! I didn’t need help but, geez, ask!

    I also wore your black Fat Cyclist.Com t-shirt around Door County. Boy, did that get some looks. I weigh 205lbs so the t-shirt works for me. But I got several looks and a couple of queries. Hopefully, I converted some other Clydesdales to your website.

  88. Comment by Sprocketboy | 06.15.2008 | 1:53 pm

    1. Orbea Girl’s story is great.

    2. While riding on the Wannsee route, far from the center of Berlin, I noticed that after cleaning my bike I had forgotten to put the seat bag, with my spare tube and patches in it, back and at that moment I looked down and there, 7 miles into my ride, I watched the rear tire suddenly go flat. Luckily I could walk to a train station but sometimes it is bad to think about what could the worst-case scenario.

    3. As a roadie, I help other cyclists because people have helped me. My favourite was a guy on brand new Cervelo standing by the side of my training route. When I asked if he needed help, he said that he was going to call his wife on his cellphone since he had a flat. I pointed out that this would pretty much wreck his credibility as a cyclist and, as I guessed, he told me he had had his bike for four days and had never changed a flat (although he had the tools). So I walked him through the process and I hope that in the two years since he has done it for others.

  89. Comment by Ian Hopper | 08.3.2008 | 12:26 pm

    This is precisely why I always carry a pump with me. Always. Well… there was that one time on a borrowed road bike that I blew a flat… fortunately, I was a block from a gas station. Still sucked though because I had NO tire levers so it was the biggest pain EVER to get the tire off.

  90. Comment by | 10.2.2008 | 8:55 pm

    FC, you going to ride tubeless on the road?


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