When I first started riding decent distances, the flats started to add up with the increase in saddle time. Most of the time a preventable, but inevitable part of cycling. I quickly discovered a need for topping off before rides and checking the tire diligently for sharp objects.
Last night I had to fix a flat for my brother. He said that he had ‘shredded’ his tire, but I assumed (and was correct) that it was just negligence. A small snake bite on the tube, and a largely intact tire proved me right.
I was not thinking about that though, when I popped off the right bead and slid the lever all the way around the tire, freeing it from the hook. Removing the tube, and ripping it away from the tire which it had bonded with over miles and miles. The wheel was messy, so it needed a damp rag and some love.The new WTB’s slid on effortlessly and upon being filled began making the satisfying pops that accompany a new clincher feeling out it’s rim.
Those pops brought me somewhere else. I wasn’t on the bike, but it didn’t matter. It’s another ritual, something which reaffirms in the mind what is taking place on a greater scale. As natural as sprinting for a town sign, stopping for coffee, or any other element of a ride.
Sure, it stops you for a bit. But in stopping you reminds you that you were going. And isn’t that what we all really wish for.
To be going somewhere.