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).