Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Commuter Tires

Yesterday, I dusted off my wife's Raleigh hybrid bike to ride it in to work since my regular commuter has a broken frame. I enjoyed the change of feel and posture on the ride in and was starting to think this might not be so bad after all. Then on the ride home that all changed. After picking up Ian at his Tae Kwon Do class and attaching the tagalong trailer, we started our 3-mile ride home. Not far into the ride, we got a flat.
Of course, I had not switched my seat bag and tool kit over to the Raleigh, so we were stuck (literally) out in the cold. Fortunately, our route lies close to the bus route, so we walked a block over to the bus stop. Fortunately, the bus is on a 20-min frequency, and was supposed to have been made more frequent by the addition of several evening buses. Unfortunately, that is just a wild dream, and we waited for more than 45 minutes with no bus until my dear sweet wife finally came and picked us up. At least we got to have some father-son heart to heart time.
Three things went wrong. (1) I switched to a bike that did not have Kevlar tires. My regular bike has Kevlar tires, and in a year and a half of riding with them, I have gotten exactly one flat. On the first day with these other cheap tires, I'm dead on the roadside. (2) I did not pack the tool kit, which would have allowed me to make a roadside repair. I've gotten out of the mindset of needing it because I almost never do. (3) I had faith in the public transportation system. In principle, I'm a big believer in public transit, but Austin's Capital Metro has just not got it together with the P.M. buses. Nearly every time I've tried to take one in the afternoon or evening, I end up with a long (40-45 minute) wait.
Moral of the story. Be prepared!

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