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But I won’t clog up this here space with it again.  It’s here.


Starting in 2005, I rode around on my former Giant for a year with Slime tubes — no flats. Also, not that much mileage and most of it in Southern Illinois. Pulled metal out a few times.  But still, no flats.

Put hundreds of miles on my current Giant’s semi-cheap Kenda hybrid/touring tires riding all over Baltimore. Slimes tubes. Never had issues for like 22 months. Before I left for Boston/New York, I pulled a flat coming home on Falls Road, near Cross Keys. No biggy. There as a big, shady, grassy spot along the road to do some patching, and I had good company and my toolkit.

But no. Or, rather, yes. Biggy. The Shishishishishishishishish sound you hear when air is escaping and you have even crappy clip-on fenders was accompanied by a nasty bubbling sound. There was Slime everywhere. Everywhere. So much so that, without three or ten rags, there was no way to patch that tire. I was only about a mile from home; so I walked it, rather than taking the load off of my rack, flipping The Duke over and replacing the rear tube. I assumed that the hole must have been large, if the Slime didn’t stop it. But no. It was small. Tiny. Barely bigger than a pin. Ordered some non-Slime tubes immediately. That stuff is gross and ruined a nice pump.  Now I found out the hard way that it doesn’t always do what it says it will do.

Fine.  Replaced my tubes and kicked out the jams.

Then this Saturday on my birthday, I picked up some glass in my front tire on my way back from Fell’s Point. Made it home, patched ‘er up and was all set.

Sunday, Dan and I were out riding, and something was rubbing around Druid Hill. There was a bubble in my back tire that kept hitting my fender. But the time I got home, the rubber was gone. I stole ElRo’s old back tire (which is a larger, 40c tire, while mine were 38s). Ordered some Kevlar-lined tires and three more tubes. No biggy. I’d just ride around on those big tires until my new ones came in — which I did Monday, with no problems. Bought some books, did some riding, made some food. Fun times.

Then Tuesday, I picked up glass in the same front tube, on the Jones Falls Trail on my way from work. I had a bad day and was annoyed, but at least I could pull off the road and patch in the grass. Good thing I always carry my repair gear. Patched up, rode home, showered, ate pasta and chilled.

Gave one Hummer driver the finger when he blew the horn at me and motioned for me to use the JFT.  I had just gotten back onto the road from patching and was hot.  I gave that jackass the full Statue of Liberty extension of a middle finger.  I try not to react so much to drivers.  But come on.  If you drive a Hummer, no one cares what your opinion is about cycling. Besides, while we are required by Maryland law to use bike lanes when they are present, the JFT is not a designated bike lane.  I usually do use it on my way home, since I’m riding all uphill from mid-town to Roland Park.  But that wanker was out of line, and I laughed as his gas bill half of my way home.

Wednesday morning, I was drinking coffee and I heard my tire blow out in my bedroom. I do take pride in my patching abilities, but I assumed that was the problem, that one of the two patches on my front tube had blown off. But what happened was that the tube got pierced somehow when it stretched into the dimple where the spoke nipples are. I checked, and the rim tape looked fine. I don’t know how it happened. Maybe I was not careful enough with the wheel yesterday and had something in there that caught itself in the dimple and took the tube out. I stopped midway through patching to try to add new rim tape to my tire/tube order, but they wouldn’t let me. It was getting late, and patching my tire at home was not an option. I had to get to work.

I feel like the Universe is conspiring to keep me off the road. So I took the bus to work yesterday and today. Well, in my defense, I had to go in and come home early yesterday so that I could go with my brother to the airport at 4:30. Today, my bike won’t let tubes live until my new rim tape comes.  But still. Despite a nice bus ride, I missed my bike.


Came home, and my back tire was flat, too. It seems that my rubber rim strips have failed me. Just ordered cloth rim tape, second-day so that I can get my bike back up by Monday. Damn it. I have a meeting until 8 that night, too. It’s a universorial conspiracy. Yes, that’s a word. I just made it up.

Two members of the North Baltimore Bike Brigade were out of commission last week, including Eleanor R.  One Tuesday afternoon, I was rushing to make a meeting (for which I was already late) and hopped on ElRo without noticing that I had a flat front tire.  I still didn’t notice after falling off of ElRo and riding her a few feet, at which point I finally heard the crunching sound of rim-on-gravel.

Luckily, another NBBB member was close by and rode down to my office to replace the tube.  I got home safely and was practicing replacing a tube on my own when . . .


As it turned out, I had a tear in the tire as well as the tube.  Two replacement tires arrived this past week, and they are securely attached to ElRo.  I was back in the saddle riding to work on Thursday — and now I know how to change a tire!

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