Last Tuesday, Stoker and I were doing another hilly ride getting ready for our upcoming trip to France. And we were feeling great. The CoMotion had a problem with the rear disc rotor that the owner/mechanic at Bikes and Bites, Lodi’s new shop, had detected and fixed. What had been happening is that the two-piece rotor was rubbing against the caliper arms outside of the brake pads. A shiny spot on each of the spider arms showed that we were suffering a small amount of drag with each wheel rotation. Small yes, but when we started to ride with the drag-free replacement rotor, we certainly thought we noticed a difference.
So things are going well. We feel strong, we are pretty much keeping up with some of the ‘biker chicks’ (it is their own name, so refrain from accusing me of being a male chauvinist), and we are climbing the hill up the face of Hogan Dam, almost 20 miles into the ride. We are only 2 miles from Common Grounds, one of our favorite coffee break stops, and Stoker and I are trying to choose between splitting a chicken pesto panini or a breakfast burrito. Both delicious. Decisions, decisions…
Psst! Air hisses from our rear tire, which goes rapidly flat. We stop and as I’m getting repair tools and supplies out of the saddle bag, Stoker lets me know that she has found the hole. And wow, what a hole it is. Take a look.
I didn’t remember hitting anything, and the tread of the tire did not look excessively worn to me. So either I ran over something sharp or the tire casing simply failed. Either way, I am going to have to put a ‘boot’ inside the tire.
At the suggestion of a fellow club member, I decided to use some cardboard from the box the new tube came out of. In fact, I used two layers to cover the hole. I pumped up the new tube and crossed my fingers. That hole was pretty big, and even though Stoker is a small person and I’m not excessively heavy, there is quite a bit of weight on the rear tire of a tandem.
We decided to take the shortest route back to the car, and skip the break; no burrito for us. We’ve got about 15 miles to go. We rode 9 of them before we heard another Psst! Now what?
Here is where it is nice to ride with a club and have a friend who will help when there is a problem. One rider had followed us to make sure we got back ok. He saw we needed a lift, so he rode his bike back to the cars and then drove to pick us up.
For some reason this member wishes to remain anonymous. He is afraid this kind gesture will undo his hard won (and occasionally well deserved) reputation as a curmudgeon. So I cannot give him the public credit he deserves. But be assured that he received profuse thanks from Stoker and me, and the next time I saw him I presented him with a very nice Jessie’s Grove ‘Old Vines’ Zinfandel in appreciation for his Good Samaritan action.
I’ve done similar good deeds. Once I drove 20 miles to pick up a rider who had his frame break. Another time I rode 35 very slow miles to make sure a new rider who did not know the route didn’t get lost. So maybe we had some good karma working for us.
I got some grief afterwards for allegedly trying to stretch the mileage of a worn out tire, but everyone who knows me is aware that I do not skimp on equipment or maintenance. Tandem tires do go from ‘looks fine’ to completely worn out very quickly, sometimes in the middle of a ride. At which time it is great to have friends who look out for you, anonymous or not.