Monday, June 14, 2010

Tell me why...

Why is it that bike shops in The South pay no attention to the actual tire tube size one needs? I was pontificating on this very point after Aaron had a string of flat tires on our way through Mississippi and Alabama. Something like 6 flats in less than 2 weeks: that's even putting *my* record to shame. (I'm at 17 flats since leaving DC.) Well, we looked at the tubes that he'd bought at various shops and only a couple were the correct size for his bike! What?? Yes. They were actually selling -- or sometimes giving -- him the wrong size tube.

People, I know I only worked in a bike shop for 6 weeks before leaving on my trip, but even I know you need the correct size tube. Too small and it is prone to exploding from overinflation by the time it fills the tire; too large and the resulting explosive flat blows the tire right off the rim (as I learned from flats #1 and #2 on Day 1.)

I don't mean to look a gift horse in the mouth -- where does that expression come from, anyway? -- but when someone gives me spare tire tubes that are the wrong size, they're actually putting me in danger. It's like a gift horse kicking me in the knee caps. No thanks. When you ask me what size I need and I tell you I need "26 x 1.5 presta" tubes, don't give me "26 x 1.9-2.6." It's happened. That's why I always check now.

I contemplated entitling this post "Size does matter," but, well, after the uptick in blog traffic following the "Vagabondage" post I worry about attracting the wrong kind of attention. But seriously, make sure you get the right tube size for your tires. And make sure you wear a good bike helmet. (Thought I'd slip in that little reminder, since I was already ranting about safety and very few bike riders in this part of the country seem to find them necessary. Y'all should expect a lecture at the stoplight soon....)

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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