Flat Out of Fixes

Feb 25, 2013 View Comments by

Flat out of Fixes

I think I should do a series on flat tires. Rarely do they occur at an opportune time with this particular flat having the worst timing of the lot. This flat happened the next morning after my “Finding Timmer” post. Here is a little back-story.

Nick and I were in Africa rushing to meet up with our friend Timmer for a scheduled Kilimanjaro summit. He had flown in a few days earlier, and the tour left at 8:00 a.m. the following day. We were still a few hundred miles away and had not been in contact with him since he arrived in Africa. We were already supposed to have rendezvoused with him, but we were running behind due to several breakdowns, border crossings, and now another flat tire. A flat is nothing new and it’s a quick 20-minute fix if you have the right stuff, but sometimes you don’t.

We were out of tube glue. I had used the last of it for my patch the night before. No problem, I carry two spare inner tubes, so I dig through the gear and pull out the extra tubes for the first time this trip. I thought that I had brought both an 18-inch rear and a 21-inch front as back up for the glue and patches, but as I unfold them, I discover that I only have rear tubes. No big deal. Nick carries spare tubes as well. I blow up his spare tube and find two holes in it. It’s a brand new tube that’s faulty from the factory.

Now I sit on the side of the road while Nick takes off for the next town looking for either a tube or glue. Nick is gone for a few hours, which gives me plenty of time to feel around in my tire for the culprit. You see, this new flat is only one inch away from my last one. I find a thorn sticking through the sidewall and pull it out with vice grips. I was in such a hurry patching the tube the night before that I missed seeing this during my quick tire inspection. Now we are paying for it. This brings us to the exact moment in the photo: iPod in, listening to Pinback, waiting for Nick, and hoping for good news when he returns. I shoot a video interview and then snap this picture. We still have a few hundred miles to go to meet up with Timmer and we have to get there tonight. It would be another long day in the saddle. However, as I look back on this photo, it only makes me want to do another trip that much more. I absolutely love this stuff—even though it sounds stressful. I thrive in these situations.

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About the author

Commercial fisherman to pay the bills. Adventure Rider for the smile on my face. Documenting it all as proof that anyone can live this dream.