The Ministry of Pinch Flats



In situ
patchlings, grinding, & emplacement
Aqueous Diagnostic Laboratory

Aqueous Diagnostic Laboratory

mini patch

Went on an alphabet scat safari around Pine Mt in the perfect fall weather.  I was wearing a tee-shirt and cycling shorts. Last time I wore this little was… 1995 or so. I just don’t go out with no coverage, but today promised to be fine the entire time, and I felt gullible.

A trio of women picnicked on the edge of the fire road overlooking Kent Lake, a ranger appeared at the very toughest part of Triple Ripple, where you’re clinging to the loose, steep rock by your very eyeballs, and one lone cyclist caught me, riding his  first attempt at the loop. I told him he could find his way if he just went clockwise at all the intersections.

In a burst of showoffy bravura, I paid the price on one of the rocky rutted downhill swoops just after Smoker’s Knoll. I’d just done a ‘selfie’ session with Tomales Bay in the background, on a day as fine as  this there’s no rush to return home to an unheated Taj Mahovel. The flup flup of a pinch flat obliged me to enjoy more afternoon outside. Guy passed me, ‘yougoteverything?’.

Yep. Thank goodness I had a repaired, functioning spare.

I found him ten minutes later, sitting with a map at the T instersection where you can go terribly wrong.
“Clockwise, remember?”

“Oh yeah”.

Rode a few turns with him but his pace was a bit slower on the climbs so again I pulled away, then waited, and after ten more minutes realized I would be descending Repack in a sweaty cotton teeshirt–ok if you’re warm but hell if you’ve cooled off.

Left him a boastcard with even more directions.

At home, before eating, I fixed the snake bite, er, twin holes. These are meted out to those who WILL NOT inflate their tyres before a ride, or failing that, WILL NOT slow down on the steep descents.

Figured someone might get a kick out of the mini-patches CC and I use….why use a whole big patch, when the holes are so tiny? We cut the circle in four, and bevel all the cut the edges in the Room Where We Grind Things. These little ones actually hold better (smaller perimeter=less chance to delaminate).

Naturally, your “gloob of tue” over time will  dry up and need replacement,  but at least you won’t have to buy patches very often.  It’s a trick I picked up from the unicellular organism world…non-sexual repro, aka “Patchenogenesis”.

Let the tube whine, “I’m tired”… the patches will multiply regardless.

An hour later  I check the tube. Sadly, it’s flaccid.   Dunk it in the Aqueous Diagnostic Laboratory, where two delicate lines of  bubbles give away holes that my upper lip dinna find (doesn’t everyone ‘feel’ for the holes this way?).

Will worry about repairing the last, invisible holes tomorrow. It’s bath time now.

~ by jacquiephelan on November 16, 2008.

4 Responses to “The Ministry of Pinch Flats”

  1. The sensitivity of my upper lip is expressly tuned for detecting pinholes in inner tubes too. 🙂

  2. In the absence of a grinding room, I have learned through experience that non-grinded (-ground?) patch edges seem to work just fine. In the case of my last pinch flat, it was taking the edge of the driveway at perfect perpendicularity that did my rear tube in.

  3. Ha ha! I feel for tube punctures the same way– spectators think I’m weird or maybe a “tube whisperer”. This is usually done sitting cross-legged at the trail-side while I hold forth on the evils of the CO2 inflator thingies.

  4. Rubber cement in a jar dries up slower, and works better if you can wait to patch until you get home, those little tubes are sealed forever (so far as I can tell) until you puncture them. I usually check for leaks with my cheeks, which are fuzzier and this lets me listen too.

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