Flat Fixing; Cool and Wet

March 29th, 2012

Today I had the now unusual occasion to ride my bike into Boston. At the foot of the Longfellow Bridge, I met another commuter who was walking her bike. I stopped, noticing the flat tire on her bike. I offered assistance, in fact giving a step-by-step explanation of the flat fix process. She was grateful, and we both went on with our days. I’m going to start carrying a patch kit to expedite (?) the process – I wonder how many people get flat tires on the popular routes into Boston on a given day. It might be fun to ride back and forth over the Longfellow for an hour in the morning and in the evening to find out. I noticed the debris and sand was noticeably swept into the shoulder (bike lane) today, so that might have spiked the number of flats.

If you’re concerned about flats, you should pack a flat fix kit, or a good lock and a T pass. For the former, you’ll want a tire levers and a pump, as well as either a spare tube (that fits your wheel!) and the tools to remove your wheel, or a patch kit. For a pump, I’ve been using the Road Morph, which is awesome.


This week the weather has been more like it was in the winter: lows in the 20s, highs in the 40s and sometimes 50s. A spring jacket is definitely too little: one needs gloves and at least a few layers. There’s been sporadic rain and water on the road. There’s also more than enough sand and dirt to go around. If you understand the benefits of fenders, now is the time for it.

4 Responses to “Flat Fixing; Cool and Wet”

  1. Susan Says:

    As the person you helped on the Longfellow Bridge, I cannot thank you enough. I have been telling this story to everyone with how amazed I am that someone would stop to offer assistance on the bridge and happen to have the necessary tools and knowledge. Thanks again.

  2. William Furr Says:

    A frame pump is key. I thought I’d be fancy and keep CO2 cartridges in my saddle bag, which worked fine until the day I got a flat and had forgotten to put a fresh cartridge in the bag after the last time I used one (~8 months prior). Ooops.

    I suppose I could have locked up and ridden a sequence of buses, but it would have taken me at least four times as long to get to work. I was in West Roxbury, nowhere near the train lines. So I rode on it flat for five miles and ruined my tire.

  3. Weather Guy Says:

    CO2 is – for anyone except the weight weenie perhaps – something of a scam. It vastly increases the cost of repairing a flat while reducing your options when you get a flat. When I first started carrying flat fix equipment, after getting a flat in the South Bronx and luckily being able to walk to a train station, I carried those and thought they were great. No more.

  4. William Furr Says:

    Just noticed the relative sizes of the temperature tags on your blog. It made me a little sad. The weather is one of the few things I miss about living in Alabama.

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