Actions and Consequences, Part IV

09.12.2013 | 7:13 am

A Note from Fatty: This is the fourth part of this story. You can find previous installments here:

The Hammer and I rolled to a stop. Her tire was absolutely, completely flat. Not the kind of flat where you’ve had a slow leak and your tire has gone kinda soft. No. It was the kind of flat where the explosive sound of the air nearly makes you fall off your bike.

“You jinxed my tire,” The Hammer said, as I pulled the tube out and started running my fingers along the inside of the tire, looking for whatever caused this.

“I absolutely did not,” I replied. I knew what she was referring to, and there was no way I was going to take the blame. “Now, if the weather suddenly were to go bad, then you might have a case,” I said, alluding to how I had ominously pointed at the sky a moment ago.

I was now on my third revolution around the inside of the tire, looking for the culprit. Usually I’m pretty good at finding them. But the tire looked good. The rim looked good. In spite of the very obvious fact that the tube had just exploded, everything looked fine.

“I think whatever gave you the flat didn’t stay in your tire,” I said, and The Hammer walked back to where she had gotten the flat.

There were several small pieces of glass there. Clear and hard to see in the flat light of the increasingly overcast sky.

So now, with a better idea of what to look for, I started searching the outside of the tire. And there it was: a small cut in the tire. No glass remained in it, and it didn’t look bad. So I put in a tube and inflated it with a 16g CO2 canister. This left it just a little soft, so I pulled out a second canister, and added some more CO2, figuring I’d use just a quarter to a third of it.

Which would have been a terrific plan, if the new tube hadn’t exploded.

“Oh. Excellent,” I said, even though I didn’t really feel like what had happened was very excellent at all. Sometimes, I must admit, during moments of extreme stress, I use sarcasm.

I pulled out the tube and looked at where the tire had been sliced by glass.

The hole was now noticeably larger. 

Tire Repair, Part 2

“Perfect,” I said. (Which was sarcasm, again. I’m sorry.)

[A Note from Fatty: I'm super excited for everyone who's really good at fixing stuff to leave me comments, telling me about how I should have known better and what I should have done in the first place. Please consider this thanks in advance for your really terrific advice.]

“Is there anything we can use to go between the tube and tire?” The Hammer asked.

We dug around in our jerseys. The best bet seemed to be a piece of the Martha Wrap — foil on one side, paper on the other: it was the stuff The Hammer had used to wrap the two-bite pies we had brought along on the ride. 

I tore a piece off, folded it once, put it in the tire and put a new tube in — our last — and inflated the tire, holding my breath and waiting for the explosion. I used just one CO2 can, figuring it was better to run a little soft than it was to risk pushing the tube through the slice in the tire again.

No explosion. The fix held. But I could see the silver of the foil through the tire, which was not reassuring.

“I don’t think it’s going to hold for a hundred miles; I don’t think we’re going to make it back,” I said. And then I instantly felt terrible, because The Hammer got her “disappointed” face.

“I wish we would have turned around when you said it was 100 miles,” she said. “Then I wouldn’t have gone through the glass and gotten this flat.”

And it’s true. If we had turned around when I said to, we never would have been on the stretch of road where that patch of glass was. She wouldn’t have had that flat. 

But within half an hour, we would both be incredibly grateful that she had gone through that glass. That she had gotten that flat. That we had ruined our first of two tubes. 

Because otherwise, things would have worked out differently for us than they did. And we really don’t know what would have happened to us.

Which seems like a good place to pick up tomorrow. 

PS: It’s even possible that I’ll conclude this story tomorrow. It’s hard to say, though. I kinda thought I was going to conclude today, but my half hour of writing time’s up (and in fact I cheated today; this took 45 minutes to write).


  1. Comment by wharton_crew | 09.12.2013 | 7:27 am

    And it’s true. If we had turned around when I said to, we never would have been on the stretch of road where that patch of glass.

    Fatty, I’m glad you followed up your statement with an explanation of how good it was to get the flat, otherwise you’d be in the dog house for a statement like that on a nationally-viewed, beloved blog!

    Marriage = ‘when she’s right, she’s right; when I’m right, she’s right’!!

    Looking forward to tomorrow!

  2. Comment by Sean | 09.12.2013 | 7:30 am

    Reading the vignettes every morning before 0630 is like a shot of espresso with my coffee! Loving it and feel happy inside that the ominous tone has turned toward good fortune.
    I am also learning the Hammer is always right! Trust the Hammer!!

  3. Comment by JDBruin | 09.12.2013 | 7:41 am

    Digging the dailies, can’t wait to read tomorrows episode. (and can’t get the Rocky & Bullwinkle narrator voice out of my head reminding me to check back in…)

  4. Comment by fuzzy | 09.12.2013 | 7:56 am

    Fatty, I feel your pain!

    However, just to allow you to fully express your gratitude, can I make a suggestion for future rides-

    Park TYRE Boot (note the correct Queens English spelling there).

    Luv ‘n Stuff
    fuzzy from the UK

  5. Comment by ColoradoXJ13 | 09.12.2013 | 7:59 am

    US paper currency works incredibly well as a tire boot in a pinch as well, although I know you said you only brought debit/credit cards. I’ve never tried foreign currency, YMMV. Also, two spare tubes per bike, always.

  6. Comment by MtlDan | 09.12.2013 | 8:26 am

    Canada now has polymer $20 bills instead of paper. The polymer is almost indestructible. Other denominations are coming out in a few months. They’re a great tire boot, and in a pinch you can buy snacks with them! I love duel-purpose equipment for saving weight (patch kit/band-aids, gloves/toilet paper. But, based on sad experience, I don’t recommend using an allen key as a q-tip to get a bug out of your ear).

  7. Comment by MattC | 09.12.2013 | 8:32 am

    I carry a few cut pieces from an old tire in my seatbag (about 1″ x 1.5″) and have sucessfully covered a few pretty huge cuts and finished my rides. I’ve even used rubber cement from a patch kit and glued a piece of old tire over a cut on a new tire (HATE to throw away an expensive tire when it’s got a lot of life left on it!) I had to sand it pretty good but it stuck well and I wore that tire out.

    Oh, and you’re welcome btw! Glad you expressed your thanks in advance knowing you were “super excited” for our advice…saves time!

  8. Comment by Jeff Bike | 09.12.2013 | 8:40 am

    I carry one tube, one patch kit (w/ several size patches) and 4 CO2’s per bike. In theory I should be able to replace the tube once and patch 3 more times. In reality the most I have done is one and one.
    If you get a glass cut in the tire (Sorry @fuzzy, American spelling) then you can put a patch on the inside of the tire before putting in the new tube. Normally it will not only get you home but unless it’s real bad it may last the rest of your biking season.

  9. Comment by SteveB | 09.12.2013 | 8:43 am

    Of course there’s always duct tape. I prefer ‘pirate pattern’.

  10. Comment by Scot M | 09.12.2013 | 8:59 am

    +1 on US currency. A dollar bill is incredibly puncture resistant. Always have one in road kit and Camelbak

  11. Comment by centurion | 09.12.2013 | 9:03 am

    So far, we have learned that you went on a 200 mile bike ride, with out tools, two tubes for 4 tires, and no cash. Is it just poor planning, or do you just want to be unprepared when things go wrong?

  12. Comment by ow | 09.12.2013 | 9:05 am

    finicky road/TT bikes – this kind of stuff never happens when on a MTB – ha. Liking the short cliffhangers!

  13. Comment by Hughey | 09.12.2013 | 9:16 am

    I didn’t notice this when I read part one, but how long does it normally take to write some of your longer posts?

    Oh, love these short posts where you answer questions from previous posts but creating more as well.

  14. Comment by eclecticdeb | 09.12.2013 | 9:20 am

    Do you plan your life so that about every 15 minutes or so you have a “cliffhanger” moment? I KNOW you got home okay, otherwise you wouldn’t be writing this (yeah, I’m smart like that), but still…sounds like there is a lot of adventure.

    @Wife#1: Thanks for the heads up in the comments yestrday, probably wouldn’t have gone back. And THANK YOU so much for the kind offer. I have no idea what size — I think I’m in between a medium and a large — depends on the cut.

  15. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 09.12.2013 | 9:30 am

    You’ve got to love MattC. Not only does he pack a razor on his rides for shaving his leg(s), he has cut up pieces of old“tigher” for emergencies. His seat back must resemble a Burley.

    Ditto for $’s, and @Centurion (been there, done that), but I’m going to need to get me some Canadian cash since I think it’s still a little less expensive than a buck! (97 cents today-on sale!)

    @FC You’re welcome in advance when I add the idea of packing your new Lenzyne combo CO2 inflator/hand pump.

  16. Comment by Dan O | 09.12.2013 | 9:42 am

    A buck for a boot, a frame pump and life is good

  17. Comment by Bee T | 09.12.2013 | 9:48 am

    I’m not great at fixing stuff fast, but my drama queen moments are always precious. Usually, I clutch my flatted tire in both hands, screaming invectives to the heavens. You should do a guest series- what’s the best flat you ever had?

    Did you even use a single swear word? I think tire repairs are held together with the swears and tears of unlucky cyclists.

  18. Comment by bikemike | 09.12.2013 | 9:59 am

    Check with HBO and see if they’ll allow you to write a proper ending for Deadwood, please?

    Nobody wants that more than I do. – FC

  19. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 09.12.2013 | 10:02 am

    @ Friends of Fatty

    From the twitter-verse a link to The Noodle’s Private Idaho ride. If doesn’t make you want to sign up right now for next year, all I can say is “What kind of Fatty are you?”:
    Thanks Noodle, Thanks Fatty, Thanks WIfe#1 for telling me:

    It’s a giant jar of Nutella, worked over by the heat and the sun to become a dribbly container of molten awesome. JMcCrae 2013

  20. Comment by leroy | 09.12.2013 | 10:11 am

    My dog asked me to suggest that you consider the new Assos S7 Campionissimo bib shorts with the “KuKu Penthouse” pouch in the chamois about which Mr. Bike Snob NYC recently wrote.

    My dog has been asking for several pairs so he can wear them backwards and tuck his tail in the pouch.

    He promises that he’ll stop borrowing my bibs and cutting holes in the back of them. (Which is odd because several months ago he blamed those holes on large moths.)

    Anyway, for your purposes and as an added bonus, he thinks the pouch can be removed and used as a tire boot.

    I can see why Dr. Lammler is such a big Assos fan.

  21. Comment by UpTheGrade SR CA | 09.12.2013 | 10:43 am

    I once came accross a fit-looking guy in beautiful team kit on a shiny carbon bike with Dura-Ace and a flat tire with no tube, CO2, Pump or patch kit. Of course I helped him out, and even managed to refrain from offering helpful advice on how he could be better prepared (I had to bite my tongue). As for an experienced endurance cyclist like Fatty, you deserve all the paternal be-prepared advice your fans can give you ;-)

    @DavidH I really appreciate your offer of Fat Cyclist tribal-wear for the Fondo. I have managed this year to drop from an XL to mearly L, that said, I would be delighted to wear the jersey anyway if its not too wind-catching (on 100+ mile ride, I need all the aero advantage I can get).

  22. Comment by Liz M. | 09.12.2013 | 10:58 am

    Sounds like you made the best of the situation. Though I hope tomorrow’s installment doesn’t end in hitchhiking!

  23. Comment by cyclingjimbo | 09.12.2013 | 11:02 am

    US currency gets my vote as well for use as an emergency boot. Very strong, and as already pointed out, it is multifunctional.

    @UpTheGrade SR CA – I have a L Fat Cyclist jersey from a few years back hanging in my closet; I will not be at the Fondo and you are welcome to it if you want something perhaps more your size. I also have this year’s jersey on order, and if it arrives in time to get to you you are welcome to either.

    Let me know. At least my jersey would be able to participate in the Fondo.

  24. Comment by Jacob | 09.12.2013 | 11:27 am

    I’m actually looking forward to reading the “What you should have done posts” because I actually only vaguely understand the idea of repairing a flat on a bike. I’ve had two flats in the three years I’ve been riding and I swear in both cases, the tire ended up with a hole in it the size of a nickel. I don’t think the patches I carry with me would even fit and back then I was only riding close enough to home my wife could pick me up in five minutes from anywhere on my ride.

    I bought a CO2 inflator this summer, but I haven’t had to use it, and I’m worried that the first time I have to use it that I’ll actually waste my cannister by not putting it in right.

  25. Comment by Clydesteve | 09.12.2013 | 11:44 am

    “Perfect,” I said. (Which was sarcasm, again. I’m sorry.)

    [A Note from Fatty: I'm super excited for everyone who's really good at fixing stuff to leave me comments, telling me about how I should have known better and what I should have done in the first place. Please consider this thanks in advance for your really terrific advice.]


  26. Comment by Clydesteve | 09.12.2013 | 11:44 am

    Be assured, Fatty, that if I proffer unsolicited repair advise, it is already sarcastic.

  27. Comment by Mark in Bremerton | 09.12.2013 | 11:45 am

    SteveB beat me to the duct tape answer. I still have a tube with it on it as a backup-backup. Saved my ride one day when I didn’t find the sliver of glass until I was forced to seek that final solution. A couple old inebriated guys in the store parking lot saw me struggling and suggested it. Probably their best thought all day.

  28. Comment by Vickie in Batavia, IL | 09.12.2013 | 12:04 pm

    We recently made use of the “dollar bill in the tire” trick – a piece of crushed limestone CAN work its way through Kevlar, we learned that day. The fix has worked so well that we’ve left the tire as is – it’s been quite a few miles since.

    I now make sure I have at least a couple of singles with me on rides. (They can also help if the only available source of cold drinks is a vending machine…)

  29. Comment by Fat Cathy | 09.12.2013 | 12:23 pm

    Another vote for the American currency tire boot fix. I’ve used that trick several times in the past and it has never failed me. I always carry at least one bill in my saddle bag for just this emergency.

    I’ve used the dollar trick before and did in fact ask The Hammer if she had a dollar with her; she didn’t.

    Spoiler alert: The Martha Wrap held. We would not be plagued with any more bike troubles the rest of the day. – FC

  30. Comment by UpTheGrade SR CA | 09.12.2013 | 12:26 pm

    @cyclingjimbo That’s very generous of you. Contact me at solutionx22@gmail and we can make arrangements. I’d be happy to fly-the-fatty-flag jersey in your honor with the other team fattys at the Fondo.

  31. Comment by SeanB | 09.12.2013 | 1:00 pm

    I detect more sarcasm in Fatty’s Note! Sarcasm is a gift! And there should be syntax to denote sarcasm when typing, like thre is for a joke. :)

  32. Comment by Wife#1 | 09.12.2013 | 1:07 pm

    Okay hold on a ‘mo. It’s “possible” you may conclude tomorrow?

    Look here mister, tomorrow is Friday, Friday the 13th to be exact.

    You don’t do blogs over the weekend, are you really considering leaving us hanging until MONDAY to get to the ending?

    No. I didn’t think so. Because that would be downright cruel. So man up buddy and figure out how to finish telling this very awesome novella by tomorrow, or….

    Promise us a rare Saturday edition. That’s cool with me, er us, too.

    On behalf of your many admirers,
    Thank you.

  33. Comment by Geri | 09.12.2013 | 1:07 pm

    Dude! Why you no finish story. I’m freaking out. The sense of doom is overwhelming me!!

  34. Comment by Christina | 09.12.2013 | 1:42 pm

    Sorry for yelling the answer yesterday. I love it when a story seems to be just a swirling ball of info and then it comes clear. I didn’t know how the extra distance played in. I love seeing how all the clues you give us come to fruition in the stories.

    I also love the MacGyver aspect of the Martha Wrap. Your ride reports are simply lovely to read.

    Oh, and I carry CO2, but live in fear of it. I imagine I’d scream the whole time it was filling.

  35. Comment by Clydesteve | 09.12.2013 | 1:53 pm

    BTW – I think getting to tell the story and including the use of a “Martha Wrap” as a tire boot is brilliant.

    I would chose a piece of garbage over the $5 bill or the chunk of truck tire innertube in my bike bag every time, just so I could say I did!

  36. Comment by Clydesteve | 09.12.2013 | 1:55 pm

    How cool would it be to find a plastic Starbucks Frappuccino jug, or a little piece of a Dinty Moore Beef Stew can in the ditch and use that as a tire boot?

  37. Comment by Tom Stephens | 09.12.2013 | 2:09 pm

    I always carry at least 1 dollar bill to use to line the tire in case that happens. The material is almost indestructible. Actually any denomination will do, I’m just too cheap to use anything higher especially when I cut it up.

  38. Comment by Gillian | 09.12.2013 | 2:31 pm

    Didn’t you ask earlier if during your work busy times we’d prefer less frequent long posts, or snippet posts like this?

    Because I vote this. CRIPES. I’m on the edge of my seat! Love these little bursts – as they are easier for busy YOU to type, they are easier for busy ME to read, and boy do they keep me coming back!

  39. Comment by Road Mike | 09.12.2013 | 3:22 pm

    Another endorsement for the Park Tool tire boot and the American currency as a serviceable backup. Both remedies are decidedly short-term. I’ve ridden 60 post-tire-gash miles on a $1 bill (folded twice) and 250 miles on a Park Tool boot. The boots are tough but they do puncture eventually.

    I carry two tire boots now, so I have one to give away. I was even riding in the area that day, Fatty. Sorry I missed you.

  40. Comment by Stan | 09.12.2013 | 3:48 pm

    As others have noted, dollar bills work well as emergency tire boots. Another thing that also works well is an empty Gu packet, if you’re the sort who carries such things on rides. The plastic it’s made of is pretty tough.

  41. Comment by Nic Grillo | 09.12.2013 | 5:34 pm

    +1 on the Lezyne pump. They make some trick stuff!

  42. Comment by aussie kev | 09.12.2013 | 6:01 pm

    I learned the hard way years ago – i always have a spare tyre under my seat as well as my tubes – even an old single will help in an emergency !!!


  43. Comment by Sunny | 09.12.2013 | 6:06 pm

    AHHHH…..I’m dying here! Write the book. I need to know – were you in the storm, not in the storm, stranded?????????? PS If I blow a tire, I stop and call someone to come pick me up.

  44. Comment by AKChick | 09.12.2013 | 8:32 pm

    This series is so, so, so awesome! I’m loving the cliffhanger endings. Wondering what you’ll come up with next week to top this…

    I must be old school, or weird or something. I have an old fashioned pump. The CO2 cartridges scare the crap out of me. I’m with Christina. Screaming.

    I rarely (knock on wood) get flats, but I run the hardcore Conti Gatorskins and they may not be the lightest or most aerodynamic, but I run over glass, sharp rocks, various cebris all the time (not intentionally) and those babies keep rolling. I have put about a 1000 or so miles on them and they are just starting to fray.

    @DavidH – thanks for the link to Noodle’s blog. She is now in my blog rotation. I feel like I’ve found another cycling soulmate (I’m also a slow to warm up diesel rider that is also not super fast). :) No worries as Wife# one is still my #1 too!

    Speaking of Wife#1 – congrats on reaching your 100# goal! You are awseomesauce and looking mighty fine!

    Finally, I can’t help but let out a SQUEE. My most favorite rider ever is poised to make history. I don’t want to jinx him but his name rhymes with schmormer. :)

    Assos – leroy’s dog – tails and holes – Hahahaha!

    PS Fatty – you should seriously visit Alaska and chat it up with Bill – co-owner of 9:Zero:7. Maybe he could cut you a deal on the seriously cool 9:Zero:7 carbon frameset in Fatty colors. I promise you will not regret that purchase. You’d have a place to stay (if you could put up with two large dogs and a chubby short dog).

  45. Comment by Davidh-marin,ca | 09.12.2013 | 9:59 pm

    @AKChick What does it mean that I hungrily await Fatty’s morning post, and then religiously check back at the end of the day for your reaction. Maybe I need a life.

    I too am mighty proud of W#1. Losing that kind of weight takes willpower I do not have, and am mighty proud of her. But I always knew she can do anything! Maybe next year the Gran Fondo?

    As for The Noodle, I like to think she’s more like the rest of us…then you read her writing, and her Strava and say….I wish!

    As for rhyming, how ’bout: corner, dormer, former GOOOOOO ZORNER!!!!!!

  46. Comment by Doug (Way upstate NY) | 09.13.2013 | 5:33 am

    I was out riding some single track the other day and came across 4 riders who were stuck. Broken chain. Not a tool amongst the 4. 4 kids who were attending a very expensive exclusive private college close to my home. Opened my seat bag. Wow, look at that. A multi tool with a chain tool, plus a couple of master links. Guess they don’t teach you everything you need to know to survive at that expensive college :)

  47. Comment by slo joe | 09.13.2013 | 7:09 am

    c’mon I’m up bright and early and where’s Part V??

    You’ve prolly heard of this repair trick but in case you’ve missed it, duct tape works wonders. Take a pencil and break it in half. Wrap enough duct tape around it for an emergency. Won’t take up much room at all even in a bullet bag. Have repaired a few badly slit tires for others by wrapping the duct tape around the tire and rim, opening the brake and the wounded party can pedal slowly on home.

    Ride Long and Prosper


Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.