Sometimes, I am tempted........

Buying this motorcycle was tempting as that day I had constant flat tire problems!

Readers of my web pages know that, depsite the fact that I have been on the road nearly 10 months and many thousands of kilometers, I have had relatively few problems with the bicycle, overall. Many of these problems--a new casette and hub, for example--- are probably due to the stresses of hurricane Mitch and the sandblasting of the Atacama desert, than they are to any structural weakness of the bike. The most common problem with a bike of course, is flat tires. And I have not had all that many.
AHhhhh, but.....they have come in flurries! In Mexico I stammered to a halt near Puerto Vallarta as I had several presta valves blow out on me. In Ecuador the lousy, trash littered roadsides gave me five flats in 2 days as I approached the Colombian border. And on this day, in northern Chile near the town of Caldera, I had my third flat in a row within the last 24 hours.

Now usually the problem is caused by some grain of sand or thorn in the tire that you miss when you look for what casued the flat. So it was this day...a very tiny, tiny thorn was in the tire bead, making a microscopic leak that was not noticeable at ALL until you rode the tire a ways and the little booger had a chance to work its way into the tube. Then the tire would go soft, rapidly. Well, I got so fed up with this I just replaced the tire, which i probably should have done all along, and put in a new tube as well, while I was having a snack at a local gas station. The fellow there who was working on automobile and truck tires, came over to have a look as he was not that busy at the time. [Usually they are very busy...the rough roads and road trash takes a heavy toll on truck tires as well, as the numerous 'vulcanizadora' open 24 hours a day, prove]. I chuckled that I should buy the motorcycle instead, as the tires were much tougher, and think of how much easier it would be to climb those 15,000 foot Andean passes!!! He nodded agreement, but we could not agree on a price, so I still have my cannondale.
By the way I do have a set of tire toughies, but I have yet to install them. While days like this one are annoying, in general I have had very few tire problems that toughies would have helped with. My general rule on avoiding flats is to ´not ride your bike off the road:´ that is, into parking lots, or gravel lots, etc. There is alot of debris and smashed glass in these areas that are swept off the roadway by the passing cars. I have a similar view of bicycle paths, which often are little more than sidewalks. I have more flats on bike paths than I do on the road. For Pete´s sake, the one in Amherst, Massachusetts, where I used to live, is paved with glasphalt, a mixture of asphalt and crushed glass. It glimmers in the evening sun like the yellow brick road to Oz, but it is a yellow brick road to a flat, and is avoided by many cyclists as a result.

One final comment. I am not sure why this picture appears so dark! The original copy and the scanned version appear Ok. Curses! 1