Saturday, October 8, 2011

Flat Tire Adventure

As I was biking around Chicago Avenue and the lakefront trail, I hit something with my rear tire.  It didn't sound good.  Instead of immediately turning around and heading home,  I proceeded down to Grant Park to watch the Chicago Marathon setup. Mistake!  On my way back, around Chicago Ave., I heard a hissing noise coming from my rear tire.  I biked as fast as I could in order to get some extra distance in before the tire gave out.  Not more than 200 yards later, my rear tire was completely flat.  It was 8:30 am, and I was in a hurry to go to yoga, which I needed to leave home for at 9:30 am.  So, I called Lakeshore Bike at Irving Park and the lake, but they were closed.  So, I decided to take the "L" home since a new inner tube wasn't going to happen.  I walked my bike to North Avenue and LaSalle, needing to break the $20 bill that I had brought, in order to pay for my $2.25 train fare card (they don't give change at the "L" station).  Anyway, I spotted the Green City Farmer's Market just north of North Ave.  So, I bought a $0.50 pepper with my $20 and got $19.50 in change.  With change (and a tiny pepper) in hand, I quickly realized that I was only a block from the southern terminus of Lincoln Ave, so I could take the #11 bus pretty much all the way home.  However, once I got to Lincoln Ave., the #11 whizzed by me, and the chances that another one coming by was not likely for at least 15 minutes or so.  So, my next best option was to walk the crippled bike to the Fullerton Brown Line station.  Eight blocks later at the station, I got a fare card, slid it in the handicapped entrance and opened the gate.  I carried my bike up the stairs, then had to wait about 10 minutes for the Brown Line.  After sitting in a seat by the door and riding for 15 minutes or so, I exited at Western Ave, and ran/biked using my bike like a scooter.  Got in the house at 9:15, just enough time for a shower and a protein shake .  I left right at 9:30 for yoga!

Here is a picture taken just before I hit the object on the trail that started the leak in my tire (by the way, this is a dangerous position I am in, not recommended if you don't want to get yelled at by other bikers!):

Lessons learned:  Always bring a spare tire and a pump, on every ride.  You will eventually get a flat and it is not fun.  Always carry a cell phone, a few singles for a fare card, or a fare card.  Also, don't get a running injury so you have to bike.  Then you can avoid all bike related mishaps!

10/11/11 Update:  Got the tire repaired that evening at Lakeshore Bike.  Was able to bike down and watch the marathon with friends the next day.

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