Mystery Flat #2

I began my day with a flat. The Mule was in the shed when I spotted the squishy rear tire. Being an adaptable sort of guy, I quickly sized up the situation: fix the flat or take Little Nellie to work. Little Nellie won.

I haven’t ridden Little Nellie, my Bike Friday New World Tourist, with its little wheels because I have been protecting my back. Little wheels and a stiff frame mean my back takes a beating on this bike. Little wheels also mean that it is quite a lot of fun to ride. Fun won over back concerns.

Except for a short ride on The Mule yesterday, I have been riding Big Nellie, my Tour Easy recumbent, exclusively for the last two weeks.  My arms, butt, and legs were not ready for riding Little Nellie so the ride in took about 10 minutes longer than expected.

During the day, Carl, the mechanic at my local bike shop, called. He said that the problem with the steering on Big Nellie was a cracked headset. This made me mad. I almost called the manufacturer. You’d think a headset would last longer than a mere 36,000 miles.

We discussed whether I wanted to spend a ton of money on a “better” headset. I thought about it and told him to put a headset of the same quality as the one on the bike. If it fails in 36,000 miles, I’ll consider an upgrade.

The ride home was a muggy slog. I beat a line of nasty thunderstorms home by about 45 minutes. All the way I was wishing that I had put Speedplay Frogs on Little Nellie. That will have to wait until they come in the mail.

Once home, I wiped off The Mule’s rear tire and took it off. I pulled the tube from the wheel and inflated it until it was supesized. No leak anywhere. This same thing happened to the rear wheel on Big Nellie a few weeks ago. Not finding anything sticking through the tire itself, I put everything back together and pumped up the tire. Maybe the valve is bad. I’ll know in the morning.


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