What I Shed Today

lightening up a little at a time

patched inner tubes

on March 14, 2014

I’ve been dismantling a tower of unfinished to-dos out in our garage, piled one on top of another in the bed of a wheelbarrow itself in need of service. Today I came to a snakes-nest of bicycle inner tubes.

Flats are well-known and yet mysterious to the community of cyclists who ride many miles a year, a subject that can start conversations that continue for plural post-ride rounds of Fat Tire Ale. We generally understand what causes them and may avoid those pesky interruptions for months and hundreds of miles—then, for no apparent reason, ride through a plague of punctures, blowouts, pinch flats, and valve stem failures that eat tubes like a century rider gobbling down power bars.

Opinions differ on whether to save leaking tubes for patching or put one’s trust solely in new rubber. I patch. I hate waste, and a good repair will last the life of the tube. Though I’ll do it by the side of the road if I must, when I suffer a flat I prefer to install a spare and fix the failure at home. It’s seldom urgent, though, and particularly the sizes and valve-styles I need less often languish awhile before I get around to the job.

Today was the day, however, to sort out the tube tangle. One was terminal, with the unrepairable slash of a bead-failure blowout. Another wasn’t leaking at all; I don’t know why it fell in with the others. A third had a pinhole leak, easily remedied. The last was holed right through a trial patch I’d made with substandard materials; the experiment successfully demonstrated that I shouldn’t try to get by so cheaply.

ready to sing along with Willie: "On the road again ..."

ready to sing along with Willie: “On the road again …”

It really doesn’t take that long if one’s had plenty of practice (sigh). Now I have an extra spare either Slowjourner Truth or Marie de France can use. Another should fit the Lady Eliza. The last is a puzzle; it won’t fit any wheel we ride. It might be from our friend D.’s Hortense. I’ll offer it to her, in any case.

shedding style: repair, throw away

Comments welcome … what might you shed today?

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2 responses to “patched inner tubes

  1. I had to take a second look at what that was a first! I have not been on my road bike for so long that I have been strongly thinking about selling it. Which would be all the pumps, and spare tubes and shoes that clip in and helmets and all of it! Keep up the good shedding!

  2. revdarkwater says:

    Oh, I’m experiencing a conflict of values: I want to affirm your simplifying … and I want to beg you back into the ranks of active cyclists! I trust you’ll know which is best for you, though (grin).

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