Tag Archive for flat tires

So this is how the Lone Ranger feels

It was one of those days.

A Monday in the most pejorative sense, from the time I got up this morning. One of those days when the best laid plans work out no better for mice, or at least, we can assume, than they do men — i.e., me.

I spent the morning gazing wistfully out the window as my planned riding time came and went, along with one of the most spectacular mornings we’ve seen in ages.

I finally managed to wrap up my obligations and get out on the road about the same time most of L.A. was making its way back from lunch. Fortunately, the day still had a lot to offer, even as I mentally sliced one leg after another off of my planned route to get back home in time to resume working and make dinner.

Then again, I tend to believe things happen for a reason.  And as I rode through a parking lot along the beach, that reason soon became apparent.

A couple of women cyclists were stopped in the middle of the parking lot, their bikes on the ground, with one wheel in a state of disassemble. So I pulled up next to them and asked if they needed anything; once they assured me everything was under control, I continued on my way.

As I looped around the lot and came back around the other side, though, they flagged me down to see if I had an extra air cartridge. Being the old school type I am, I offered them my pump, instead.

When the tire lever they were using snapped, I loaned them mine. Then when tube they had put on wouldn’t hold air, I reached into my bike bag and pulled out my spare. And when the woman fixing the flat had trouble getting the tire back on the rim, I offered my assistance.

Unfortunately, her problems went far beyond a bad tube; her tire was shot, a section of the rim separated from the bead. So I patched it up as best I could, and we gave her directions to the nearest bike shop.

Meanwhile, I got to enjoy a conversation with a couple of very pleasant riders. There are certainly worse ways to spend a day.

And I was impressed that a couple of other riders stopped to make sure everything was okay. Although the fact that I was in the company of two attractive female cyclists may have had something to do with it.

The one with the flat offered to replace my tube for me. Instead, I suggested that she pass it on to someone else when the opportunity presents itself.

Then we all went our separate ways. Three strangers, one who needed help and two who’d stopped to offer it.

And I rode back home in a far better mood than I had left in.

……….

LACBC urges everyone to attend tomorrow’s Transportation Committee meeting to fight for a share of Measure R funds for bikes and pedestrians. The woman who successfully transformed New York’s bike system will be the Keynote speaker for next year’s bike summit. The County Sherrif’s Department will hold this year’s Tour of Altadena Bike Ride on December 5th. With so much talk about the new bike plan, C.I.C.L.E. offers a workshop on biking infrastructure and creating great places to ride. Damien Newton calls for a bike network to support the new Gold Line extension. Travelin’ Local looks at bike sharing at UC Irvine. Santa Maria considers their own bike master plan. Minneapolis studies the causes of bike/car collisions; failure to yield — for both — tops the list. South Dakota considers a three foot passing law. Coming soon to a theater near you: a bike messenger action thriller. A U.S. group ships thousands of unwanted bikes to developing countries, while the Los Angeles St. Louis Rams donate 275 bikes to local children — including 22 therapeutic bikes for special needs kids. Philadelphia tells rogue cyclists to stop. Even dolls are getting into the Cycle Chic movement. Brits are up in arms over a new guide for bike cops, which among other things, tells them to not to tackle a suspect while still “engaged with the bike.” Also in the UK, complaints about dangerous cyclists on the sidewalks. Finally, U.S. bike thieves are using Craigslist to sell your bike one part at a time, while in Denmark, insurance companies are part of the problem.

And as an aside to our Kiwi correspondent, congratulation on your local footballers qualifying for the World Cup. See you in South Africa (metaphorically speaking, of course, since I’ll be watching on TV).

The big BikinginLA January blowout

As others have noted, this week has been ideal for riding. Temperatures in the low 80s, low humidity and — at least here on the Westside — no wind to speak of.

So even though this was scheduled as a rest day, following yesterday’s hard ride, I couldn’t resist grabbing my bike a for quick spin along the coast. After all, if I didn’t work too hard, it still qualifies as rest, right?

And for most of the day, today’s ride was just this side of perfect.

The views were spectacular and the weather conditions, and lack of tourists, meant I could keep up a good speed, even through Santa Monica and Venice. And what pedestrians and slower cyclists there were just served as slalom gates, giving me something to swerve around.

Of course, idyllic rides seldom last. And today was no exception.

It started on my way back home, when I decided to take Montana Avenue, rather than my usual route up San Vicente.

Like when a pedestrian suddenly changed direction and stepped out directly in front of me, without ever looking in my way, her long blonde hair blocking her peripheral vision, as well. The result was a fishtailing panic stop, screeching to a halt just inches away from her.

Two blocks later, I hit the brakes again when a car darted out of an alley and made a right turn right in front of me. But this time I was prepared, since I couldn’t make eye contact with the driver — usually a dead giveaway that they have no idea I’m there.

Then just up the road, a woman started to make a left turn after I’d already entered the intersection, on a direct collision course with yours truly. Fortunately, she heard me yell a warning and jammed on the brakes — avoiding me by just a few feet. And scaring the crap out of both us.

So after surviving the Montana gauntlet, though, you might think it would be smooth sailing the rest of the way home.

But you’d be wrong.

Maybe it was the stress of the repeated panic stops, or something in the road. Or it could have just been normal wear and tear. But about four miles from home, I heard a loud bang like a large balloon exploding. And suddenly found myself struggling to maintain control of bike, as heavy traffic whipped by just inches away.

Somehow, I managed to stay upright long enough to get to the curb, and found a gaping hole in the side of my rear tire — which meant that there wasn’t patch big enough to get me home. And that meant walking to the nearest bike shop for a repair.

And since I still hadn’t replaced the cleat covers I’d lost a few months back, when I forgot to zip up my seat bag after I stopped to fix a flat, I had to walk every inch of it on my bare cleats.

(Later — much later — it occurred to me that I could have taken a cab, or even caught a bus home. But did I think of that then? Of course not.)

So I set off rolling my bike down the mean sidewalks of Brentwood, watching enviously as the DB9s and carbon-fiber Conalgos continued to roll by without me.

I’d only gone a few blocks when a woman walking in the opposite direction paused in her cell phone conversation, leaned in towards me, and said “nice legs.” Then she calmly resumed her conversation, and kept walking.

Brentwood is very strange.

After hoofing it for a couple miles — okay, 2.09 miles to be exact, not that I was counting or anything — I arrived at the shop. Only to discover fellow L.A. biking blogger Anonymous Cyclist behind the counter.

Turns out he’s a great guy.

And surprisingly enough, we’d actually met before. He was the guy who helped my wife get my bike fixed when he worked at another shop, while I was laid up following the infamous beachfront bee encounter — and managed to get a near-custom, one-of-a-kind paint job for my bike.

So a few minutes later, I left the shop with a new tire, tube and a couple of these. Along with a new pair of cleats to replace the ones I ground down walking to the shop. (Note to self: cab rides are cheaper than cleats, and a lot less painful than walking in them.)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go soak my aching feet.

 

Looks like L.A.’s Downtown may become more pedestrian — and bike — friendly. Streetsblog demonstrates how easy it would be to improve intersection sightlines. C.I.C.L.E. asks riders to complete a quick survey about their Urban Expeditions program. Now that we’re getting a roadie president — replacing our outgoing fat-tire pres — Republican leaders are opposed to spending for biking infrastructure. Finally, it turns out cyclists may actually have a friend in Congress.

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