I usually ride my bike to the shop in the mornings. It just doesn’t make sense to spend the money on gas when I live relatively close to the shop and the dog seems to enjoy the exercise. My tire had been running low so i got out the pump to add some air to the tire and thats when things started to go wrong. For some reason I couldnt get the pump to latch onto the valve stem in a manner that let the air flow through the correct orifice. (There are two orifices on the pump…one for presta valves and one for schrader valves.) I spent about twenty minutes trying to figure out what I was doing wrong and was drawing a blank. Now, when confronted with a puzzling situation like this I usually go for the process of elimination. I tried both tires and had the same problem. Reasonably, this means the problem is something to do with the pump rather than the tires. (The odds of both tires suddenly developing the same mysterious problem are pretty slim.) The problem obviously (to me) had to be the pump…either a problem with the pump itself or a problem in my application of it. Unfortunately, I do not have a spare pump for my bicycle to compare against.
Long story short: operator error on my part. I took the bike and pump to my local bike shop and asked the guy to check it out. He got the pump hooked up to the valve bo problem and promptly filled my tire. WTF? So I thanked him, watched him carefully, and then deflated my tire and tried it myself. Seemed to work this time. The error was in my trying to force the stem too deeply into the pump.
But, while I was at the bike shop I figured I should get another air pump. I wanted one to keep with the bike, which means a small, compact, lotsa-strokes unit. The guy who owns the bike shop is, surprise, a like-minded individual so he knew where I was coming from. “Here’s what I want: I need a pump that will fit in my bag, work on both valves, take abuse, be reliable, versatile and durable. If it gets wet or snowed on it won’t matter. Doesn’t have to mount to the frame, but it would be nice to have that option. I don’t care about the cost as long as it is end-of-the-world quality.”
He explained that while the smaller fit-in-your-bag pumps required more strokes than the longer mount-to-the-frame pumps, there is a greater risk of damage to the frame mounted pump if you take a tumble on your bike. I hadn’t thought of that. Originally I was looking at this pump (which I still may get as a tertiary-level spare) bit wound up ordering this one which is small enough to fit in either the bag on my bike or in any of my packs/bags. When it gets here I’ll deflate my tire and then time myself to see how long it takes to reinfalte using one of these little pumps.
Of course, a pump is pretty useless without the means to repair the tube so it can hold more air. A few more clicks of a mouse got me a bicycle multi tool, a patch kit, some tire levers and a few other goodies to get me back up and running. Still need to get a couple spare tubes, some Slime, and some other small parts but when it’s all done it should all fit into a small Maxpedition pouch I can mount on the bike or keep with my gear.
I do need to put together a comprehensive “at home” kit of tools and gear to keep the bicycles running, though. I got several very good books on bicycle maintenance and repair, I just need to go find a junked mountain bike and tear it apart and put it back together a few times.
While Im not a ‘Peak Oil’ person, there are times when being able to zip around the town and the hills quietly, quickly, and on pathways that motor vehicles cant navigate might be very useful. Last thing I need is to get stuck somewhere with a busted chain or flat tire, though. So…we prepare.