Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Archive for August 17th, 2014

Twice Flat

with 2 comments

I fixed a flat tire on our two-wheeled wheelbarrow on Friday. What a surprise to find a large thorn had pierced the tire. Really? I somehow rolled that over a branch and a thorn cut right through the heavy rubber and punctured the inner tube? What are the odds of that? Come on! It’s a damn wheelbarrow for chrissakes!

Let it be known that I hate the process of getting a tire bead over a rim. I have wrestled with enough bicycle tires in my life to completely understand the process. Initially, there is a moment when it appears there is no possible way that round piece of stiff finite rubber is going to stretch far enough to make it over that larger rim. It happens to me every time. Even though I know better, there is a moment of, “this is never going to fit.”

Next comes the battle of pressing on the tire bead at the critical spot where it no longer wants to move over the rim. There are two of those spots; one to the left and one to the right. Since the tire is a circle, everything you gain at the spot on the right will be lost in equal amounts at the spot on the left, unless you find a way to prevent it.

I huff and puff, curse and struggle, trying this technique and that, wondering what I am doing wrong, and then suddenly there is some unlikely hint of progress. For no logical reason, I finally begin to gain ground. This is the ultimate moment of resolve. At this point it starts becoming increasingly easier to roll the rubber over the rim with each fraction of success. This is when the impossible task begins to appear feasible.

When it finally pops over, there is a sense of “that wasn’t so hard.” Why did I struggle so much at first? Unfortunately, I have never quite figured out why I have so much initial difficulty, nor what it is that finally brings me to the point of succeeding. I can never find a way to just cut all the agitation and get right to the part where it rolls over the rim.

Imagine my joy when I was using the wheelbarrow yesterday morning and discovered the tire was flat again. Aaaauugh! Did my patch fail?!

This is where I am my own worst enemy. My anguish wasn’t as much about my patch failing as it was about facing the tire/rim battle another time. I set my self up for failure with my mental energy focused on that likely failure. My wish came true.

The good news is that my patch didn’t fail. How likely is it that there was a second puncture in that tube? Every cyclist knows the pain of the twice-flat tire repair. If you don’t clean out the inside of the tire, imbedded debris can re-puncture a tube upon inflation. I figured the huge thorn I pulled out of that tire the first time was so obviously the source of my problem that I didn’t need to spend time looking for others. Apparently, I was wrong.

I didn’t find anything to explain the second puncture, but I did have so much difficulty getting the tire back on the rim, I needed to walk away from it and do something else for a while. When I came back to try again, I was mysteriously successful with a reasonable amount of effort.

That wasn’t so hard. However, I am writing this without having been out to check to see if that damn tire is still holding air this morning…

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Written by johnwhays

August 17, 2014 at 8:30 am