Section “Simon’s brightest” has be neglected for a while now. The reason for sure is not a lack of material to write about or that I have radically changed my way of functioning. On the contrary, the material is piling up and my talent for trying to put into practice a more or less original idea is ever so present. At the same time, there was a lot of other stuff going on all the time.
This time about flat tyres and changing of tubes. Saying goodbye to El Salvador and entering Honduras I had quite some opportunities to practice these activities. Shoulders over there are full of small pieces of wire coming from blown-out car tyres. If you tackle these kind of roads with a slightly worn out tyres, the result is quite predictive – flat tire.
And so I was approaching a gas station in Honduras when I experienced a familiar feeling when the rear wheel is just not turning the way it should. A quick glimpse down and yes – I have a flat. It’s a good thing the gas station and with it a shady spot is near. It just these 100 metres that I have to overcome. But I’m not walking if I can cycle. The rear tire completely flat and with each rotation there is a feeling like I have rolled over something. It really does not feel right. So just before the gas station I dismount and walk to the shade.
Once in shade, I take off the stuff from Lou and I turn it upside down. Take off the wheel, take off the tire and the tube and the origin of that strange feeling of rolling over something becomes apparent. I have destroyed the valve. Lesson 1 of the day – there is a reason why it is not smart to cycle with an empty tire. You do more damage than benefit!
Since I’m left with no other option, I replace the tube with a brand new one (the last spare I had). Earlier I have decided to also change the tire with a new one (having this in mind I have cycled for the past 14 days with a pair of brand new ones). So I put a new tube into a new tire and I start to put the pair onto the wheel. The valve just does not want to go through the hole in the rim. No matter how I push, change the angles of pushing it and all that I can think of, the valve and the rim do not seem to like each other. This means it is time to use some help. So I take the pliers and I try with them. After several failed attempts I try again without them and this time it fits. Great!
I finish to put on the new tire, I fill it with air, load up Lou and treat myself with a cigarette to celebrate a job well done. Somewhat too early!
I mount Lou and as I’m about to set off, there’s this familiar feeling that there is something wrong with my rear wheel. I look down – flat! I’m completely baffled. I did use a new tube and a new tire.
Again the standard procedure of unloading Lou, turning it upside down, taking off the wheel, taking off the tire and looking for the puncture. Exactly on the opposite side of the valve, just where I have previously fiddled around with the pliers. Surely this cannot be the cause. Well, the second hole, just at the right distance from the first one, makes it absolutely clear for me that pliers are not the best tool to use to fiddle with the tube. Lesson 2 passed.
Only time will tell how much have I really learned from these two lessons.
With a Smile on my face, until next time!