I read this report on LD Rider, since the BC road construction season is in full swing I thought some of you might enjoy this thread and perhaps re think your road kit
Riding home last night, in between storm fronts that took out power for a lot of people here in rural NW Ohio, heading to Bowling Green to pick up Jean-Luc..... east of Woodville, the GS felt strange and wobbly. I thought it might be a flat, so I coasted over to the side of the road and took a look. Yup, flat tire. Glad I didn't have a passenger to worry about. Probably would have been fine, but still....
I haven't repaired a tire on the road since around 1999, on my Alaska trip. I've had flats since then, but have always found the foreign object while in the driveway at home. Different deal mentally, different set of stresses.
I'd plugged a flat Saturday (small nail, Sharon's house, she'd just had windows put in), and so assumed my plug had failed. Just added a new set of gummy worms to the flat repair kit, 3 of them to be exact, and I've got the mini air compressor in the saddlebag. I called Jean-Luc's mom to let her know I'd be late, and why, and when, and where, and my ETA. Then Sharon, same spiel, I'm fine, no crash, and I have all the tools I need to deal with the issue.
Then I rotated the tire around, saw nothing obvious. Swore under my breath a little bit, pushed the existing plug (gummy worm, actually) inside the tire, and installed a new worm. Rotated the tire around again to inspect, and son of a gun... a chunk of glass, barely visible. I couldn't pull it out with my Leatherman, so I used the tire reamer as a probe. The glass pushed into the tire, as did the probe, so I reamed that hole and installed a gummy worm. Got out the mini air compressor, hooked it up, plugged it in, let it run a bit. Stop to check pressure, and I can hear "SSSSSSssssssssssssssss...." Well, crap. Not just "crap". More swearing, much more heavy-duty this time. Rotate the tire around, and...
shoot! There's a piece of metal sticking out, about the size of my pinky fingernail. Won't come out easy, so I pull it out with the Leatherman.
Good god, it appears to be a chunk of scrap sheet metal. The tip I saw was literally the tip of the iceberg, the thing is about the size of my thumb and shaped like an arrowhead. In fact, with the tail end bent at a 90 degree angle, it would make a pretty nasty arrowhead.
By now I'm getting pretty fast at this game. I ream the hole, insert the plug, and air it up. No more sound. I breathe a sigh of relief, clean my hands up with WetOnes and rubbing alcohol. Then get on, and ride the final 5 miles or so home. Park the bike (rather not put Jean-Luc on the back of it now, between the tire and storms moving around us), and take the car to BG, arriving about 30-45 minutes later than my original date, but almost exactly as predicted when I called to explain.
The tire (an Avon Distanzia dual-purpose tire) has 9,000 miles on it that I know of, but probably a bit more than that because it's what the previous owner installed when he bought the bike. Not quite down to the wear bars yet, but close enough - I'll call the local indy dealer in Bowling Green and order one, and hopefully it'll be in when I get back from New Orleans in a week or so.
1. Carry plenty of plugs.
2. Carry lots of air. I'd have lost a CO2 cart. out the big hole after the first two plugs....
3. A small amount of soap and water to check for leaks would have been nice.
4. Sometimes unlikely things happen - don't jump to conclusions.
5. People in rural NW Ohio are sure nice - at least a half-dozen cars stopped and asked if all was well. At least a couple were hard to get rid of. Not really a complaint....
No, don't know where I might have picked up all that junk. There's a lot of construction around here, so I'm guessing that maybe a truck carrying debris got jostled. The piece of scrap metal looks like something from the plant where I work, but I doubt it is, as the flat happened 20 miles from work, and in almost 5 years I haven't had a problem with flats after being at work - nor have my coworkers.
Oh, and one last thing - late last night I checked the tire to make sure it was holding air. It was. Ran my hand around the tire, and son of a gun... there's a wire sticking out of it! Leatherman, pull - this one is tiny, and probably didn't go all the way through.