A week ago, I came out of work to discover a flat front tire. Two broken tire pumps later, I caught a bus and then pushed the bike home. When I pulled the tire apart, the tube held air, so I remounted it, and successfully made the two-way trip on Thursday. I don't know why I couldn't find a leak, as I even water tested the inflated tube.
Saturday (today), I didn't get the early start I'd hoped for, but did ride the
eight miles to my Toastmasters speech contest, and figured I'd get the
coffee ride in afterward. I did, but not the way I expected. Upon coming
out of the Federal Street library on the North Side, the front tire was
Before I left the house, I'd checked both tires. The front tire was
soft, maybe 35#, last topped up 48 hours earlier. No worries; I pumped it to 80 and
was on my way. Nothing on the ride in indicated a problem.
Yet there it was, two hours later, flat as a pancake.
I quickly checked with a few others who were leaving the same meeting,
to see if anyone had a pump. No go, and further no go at the library's
lending desk. My hopes there were high, as I'd seen a library worker
push a bike right into the back room on his way into work. But nope.
The secondary problem was that I couldn't ride to a coffee shop; I was
limited to the few choices in the short Federal Street business
district. One choice was the Crazy Mocha on the corner, but I did that
last week. Most of the rest were take-out joints for pizza and barbecue ribs, and it wasn't clear
they even had coffee or anything close, nor anyplace to sit.
My next best hope was to go up into Allegheny General Hospital, two
blocks away. At the very least I knew I could get coffee and lunch in
the cafeteria, so that's what I did. Locked the bike to a sturdy
railing, then walked in like I owned the place. Even better, I got out
of there for under $5. Just a cuppa & a biscotti.
If I learned anything in this exercise, it's that there are very few tire pumps that are publicly accessible in this part of town. More on that below.
Ultimately, I pushed the bike to the Cedar Ave & East North bus
stop, where a 12 McKnight whisked me to Northway Mall quickly enough,
allowing me to push it the mile-and-a-half-ish home.
Follow-up: One thing that may come of this is to put some tire pumps at
various public libraries in and around the city. It seems so reasonable a
thing to do: Bike to a library, show your library card, and borrow a
good floor pump for a few minutes. At $50 apiece for a good pump, even
$500 would get 10 pumps to libraries where there is not already a decent
nearby bike shop. Like North Side.
I said I would kick in some seed money to get this idea started.