Monday, June 21, 2010

Any Explanation Will Do

For the past several weeks, my hybrid bike has been sitting in the garage unloved and unused after getting his third flat tire this year in the same number of bike rides. Eventually I relented and let it be taken over to the bike shop for repairs, specifically requesting a new rear wheel, new rear tire and new tube. That is, having anything on that rear wheel that could possibly be causing all of these flat tires replaced.

After inspecting it, the bike shop insisted that there was nothing wrong with the wheel and that the latest flat had come from a failure on my part to install the tube correctly. They also replaced the rim tape and called it fixed.

So this weekend I was excited to have it back and operational and went for a bike ride on Saturday. On Sunday I went out to use it again, only to find the tire flat. Again. Making it four flat rear tires in as many rides this season.

I brought it back to the shop again with, I will admit, a bit of an attitude since they had just previously impugned my tube installation ability, to see what possible explanation they had this time. At first the guy claimed the tube was fine, and that it was a beading problem. But then realized there was a small puncture in the tire, and so claimed it had been under inflated due to the heat causing tires to deflate (don't even try to work out the physics there). Except that I always pump up the tires before each ride. So then he said it was probably that I hadn't let the air out when it was stored in the winter. Which I did actually do, not that the reasoning on how that would affect the third tube this year made any sense. Then he said that the bike was too dirty and needed a tuneup.

Really? Dirt? Why not sunspots? Or aliens?

In the end I left with a free new tube, but no satisfactory explanation. I haven't decided if the bike is dead to me, yet, but at this point it is pretty close to going to a new home where I am sure it will be perfectly cooperative. I'm not even sure why I didn't demand they allow me to pay for a full rear wheel replacement, whether they thought it was required or not.

For reference, the official theories on the four flats:
1) First ride of the year - some sort of problem with the tube from being stored over the winter.
2) A really old tube that had developed a flaw
3) Poor installation of the tube by yours truly
4) Under inflated tube

If you are a fan of coincidence, I believe you could sum it up as 'monumentally bad luck'. If that is the case, I should add, I have a lovely, if apparently somewhat dirty, hybrid bike that I would be willing to part with for cheap.

1 comment:

Reuben said...

That is really frustrating. So in each of these flats, are you finding tube punctures? Or just losing air?If you're up for giving it another shot, I'd make sure to try a new tube AND a new tire. And I'd def inspect the rim very closely for random metal slivers that could be poking holes in the tube....