Finding Sanity for $31.17

Yesterday morning I woke up at 6:27am, which for me is sleeping in, and knew my morning would be hectic as Greg and I were going to see Avengers:Endgame at 10:25am and I wanted to get my morning workout done beforehand.

I got up, had my coffee, my quiet time and headed out at 7:45am for a Sunday morning ride. Low and behold, my front tire was flat, as usual. I have known there was a slow leak in my tire but up until yesterday morning I just pumped it up and it lasted my ride of 6 to 12 miles just fine.  However, yesterday, the little twisty thing that you have to unscrew to put the air pump on wasn’t working the way it has every time since and thus, I ended up with a 2 mile run instead of a 6-mile ride.

I undo the clamp on my front wheel and get it ready to toss in the car to get fixed. At 10:00am Greg and I head out to the theater and I put the wheel in his back seat.  As we drive to the movies I let him know we need to get the tire fixed on the way home.  Lesson #1 learned – bike shops usually aren’t open on a Sunday. (Seriously, people ride A TON on the weekends here, WTF are they supposed to do?!?). When we get back home after the movie and lunch, I put the wheel in the back of my car and planned on getting it fixed during my lunch hour.

Anyway, fast forward to this morning, Monday, 7am. I am driving in, figuring out my day. Mental note made “Get your tire fixed” then the panic hits me. Do I need the whole bike for them to give me a new tire? Do I need a new stem thingy? Do I just need to patch it? Should I just shoot the green goo in it and call it good? {Further digression into wondering just how the green goo gets in thru that little tiny stick thing that the compressor end goes on}.

So I walk into the office of one of the triathletes here at work who has been very helpful in the past.  “Jeremy, I need to get a new tire. Do I need the whole bike for the shop to give me a new tire?”

Lesson #2 – Part A: if you’re just losing air, you probably just need a new tube.  Part B: Bike tires have inner tubes.  Part C: My tires have a Presta Valve, most trail bikes use a Schrader valve (the kind you see on car tires).

Kindly, Jeremy informs me of all of this and even offers to go with me to the bike shop and if I wanted to just get the tubes he would fix the tire for me.  All of which is VERY KIND of him, but in the end, I decided I really REALLY gotta learn how to do this myself.  Obviously.

So at lunch, I head over to Cranky’s Bike Shop – which was pretty cool even though most of the bikes were more than my first car, and one wheel that I thought was ‘pretty’ was marked down from $1999 to $1450 on a “close-out” (insert big-eyed emoji here)…and yes that was JUST for ONE WHEEL, not even including a tire!!!

All in all, the trip to the bike shop cost me $31.17, which just so happens to be the cost of my sanity.

Point 1 – I got to watch the guy replace the tire and see how it’s actually done.

Point 2 – Evidently the new inner tubes come with a new Presta Valve (see how knowledgeable I sound now, totally not using “screw thingy” ever again!) So it didn’t matter if the one on the old tube was working or not.  (Also I don’t recommend pointing out how the “screw thingy doesn’t seem to be working right” to the bike tech unless you have a fetish for getting blank stares from nice young men).

Point 3 – I now own my own tire levers and a spare inner tube so I can replace my own tube when needed (hopefully).  Maybe.  We will see.

This whole past week I have been stressing about my Triathlon on May 11th. I haven’t trained as much as I wanted to because my shoulder has been killing me, this is the first official USAT triathlon I will be entering and while that doesn’t really mean much to anyone else, it’s a huge step forward for me. Plus, I am still not comfortable with using the bike gears yet.

However, simply getting one thing done, all by myself, and finding peace in that moment knowing that I won’t have to fuck with a flat tire the morning of my race gave me a little bit of my sanity back.  All for $31.17

It also pinpointed the fact that I need a basic bike maintenance course, so I don’t have to rely on anyone else but me to know when something is wrong with my bike and learning how to fix it.

As a fighter, I have to know how to fix my gear on the go, usually with minimal tools and supplies. I know in an instant when something is wrong, when something is broken or when something needs attention on myself and on other fighters. Right now, I couldn’t tell you anything about my bike, other than its white. And it has curly handlebars. And a new fucking EVO inner tube with a Presta Valve!!!

So yea, new sport, new gear learning curve.  And while I should know more than I do, please remember I am STILL trying to learn how to swim and not have a panic attack every time my face hits the water, so figuring out bike shit was lower on the learning totem pole, since I can at the very least ride a bicycle (albeit the hard way, not using gears properly) but I can make the two wheels roll together and not fall over. That’s a win in my book. Getting better on the bike is something I am working on.

During my last Triathlon, I ran at the back of the pack with a woman who bought a bike 2 nights before the race, at a thrift store for $15 and she drove 4 hours to join the race with a friend.

I’m a little bit ahead of THAT curve, and I feel good, regardless of what happens on Saturday I know I will continue to figure out this sport.

Progress is still progress…and this photo gives me the satisfaction that there is progress happening.

Sanity and peace of mind at thirty one dollars and seventeen cents…that’s a heck of a deal in my book!


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