Bikes. Parts. Chaos.

7km into my commute to work, I heard and felt a “thump” coming from the back wheel of my Xtracycle. I pulled over to find a heavily-damaged tire.

I had a Mr. Tuffy tire liner installed. So I figured I'd proceed, hoping the tire and tube would stay intact until I reached my destination. Other than the subtle mental torture of riding with a messed up rig that was destined to fail at any time, I rolled along for another 13km without difficulty. Then I heard the psss…psss…psss…of a tire that was soon to be flat. I got another km, to the halfway point of the big hill going up Poplar Bridge Road, before the tire was completely flat. I pulled over onto the sidewalk to boot the tire and replace the tube.

I'm able to hobble a bit on my broken leg, now. But I still tote the crutches around in case I need to take some weight off the bum leg when it gets sore. Well, I realized those crutches would prop up a gimp's bike as well as the gimp himself. So I got the bike up on the front wheel and the outrigger wheel, crutched the left rear corner, and pulled the rear wheel out to work on the tire and tube. Two layers of duct tape and the Mr. Tuffy kept the tube from creeping out of the gaping hole in my tire as I pumped it up. It looked sketchy, but I figured I had nothing to lose at that point. I had 5km to go. In the worst-case scenario, if the tube blew out and the tire self-destructed beyond repair, I'd call for one of my co-workers to ride or drive to meet me with a tire and tube from the shop.

I installed the wheel, strapped the crutches back on, and continued on to the office. My tire boot worked fine. I bought a Michelin Transworld 26 x 1.95 tire to replace the 7-year-old Cheng Shin cheapy that finally gave out this morning. I'll ride it home tonight. There's potential for it to wallow around corners due to the deep longitudinal sipes. But it's a cheap tire, and I won't feel bad if I need to replace it with another model.

I'm diggin' the Stokemonkey sidehack. I've learned how to corner faster and get more speed and range out of the system. This weekend, I added a platform and sturdy battery mount to the rig, and I tightened up the sidehack-to-FreeRad interface. It's getting quieter and more functional all the time. A minimalist fairing and aero tailbox are next. I'm not kidding. At the speed I'm moving, aerodynamic effects come into play. It's worth trying. I already look like a pedaling sideshow. Why not take it a step further?