Ride In 8/28: Is inflation good or bad for dollar stores?

Inflation is good for tires and my bicycle tire, the rear one, doesn't seem to want to accept that. This is a new tire too- one with TOURGUARD- and of all the things I was expecting this morning (namely, a hassle free commute to work via my wife's workplace where I would meet up with her), I didn't expect to meet a flat. And I still don't really understand what happened. I mean, I get the part about the air coming out. That's pretty straightforward. It's the why part.

Last night I put air in both of my tires, seeing that they were a little low, but I didn't suspect the return of the slow leak when I reinflated them. And that's good too, since I didn't get the slow leak. I got a rather fast and dramatic quick leak, as I rode on the path on near the Washington Monument. Perhaps the leak was brought about the pointiness of the obelisk, but I suspect not. My bike does this funny thing when the there's no air in the tires- the rear wheel starts flopping around like a wet fish. The tires start slip-sliding and it's hard to keep the bike riding in a straight line. Initially, I thought that my slip-sliding was a result of the slightly damp pavement, but I soon realized that I was losing air and then that I had lost air and then that my lost air was lost forever and then that I was riding on a completely deflated tire, myself deflated as well.

Prior to this, it had been a rather nice, albeit muggy ride. I might need to reassess my self-imposed exile from riding on the Mall.

I walked my bike to the nearest bench (though I didn't sit on this bench, so in hindsight I'm not totally sure why bench-adjacent was so important for my flat-fixing), flipped the bike over (I have locking tire skewers now and you can only release the wheels when the bike is upside-down. This is meant to deter thieves, but probably not thieves who wear hats on their feet and shoes on their heads), released the rear wheel, removed the tire and examined the tire. There didn't appear to be anything wrong with the tire. I found this tiring. Though, I suppose I was glad that the TOURGUARD worked and I didn't pick up a puncture because that would have really sucked, since this tire is maybe only two weeks old. But this left me with a mystery and not an Encyclopedia Brown mystery because those are for kids. I reinflated the tube and I examined it. There didn't appear to be anything wrong with the tube. I left the tube inflated and put it on the ground and waited a little. The tube seemed to not lose air. So, now I was confused. In my experience, admittedly limited, bike tires don't just mysteriously go all the flat in the matter of seconds without there being something wrong with them. Maybe I left the valve (Presta) open and that's how all the air got out. Because air is sort of like an indoor cat like that? I took the tube, put it back in the tire, put the tire back on the wheel and then I heard the unmistakable hissing of a cobra an air leak, coming from what seemed like the closed valve. So, I took the tube out of the tire, threw the tube away, replaced the tube with the spare tube, put the tire back on the bike and then tried to relock my locking skewers, which I couldn't do. I'm pretty sure I though I knew how to do it but apparently I didn't. Eventually, perhaps through witchcraft, I was able to get it closed without discerning how exactly. I had the rear tire inflated just enough to make the bike rideable and I set off past the Lincoln and along the river to Water Street, where I stopped at CycleLifeUSA to use their very fluorescent floor pump.
You can see the pump from space.
After this, I treated myself to an uphill slog along Wisconsin Avenue and the bike rode well and I hope that there's still air in the tires because if there isn't then I will cry, much like I would if my indoor cat escaped. Though, really, to paraphrase that movie about lady baseball, there's no crying in bike commuting. Just remember to carry a spare tube. Or two spares. Wish me luck getting home.

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