Wednesday, July 19, 2006

When It's Better Not to DIY

Yesterday afternoon, I played hooky from work and went for a bike ride along the lakefront. Halfway through my usual route, I veered off of the bike path and onto the concrete breakers. Along that particular stretch of the lakefront, people apparently have some pretty wild parties. You can see the evidence in the debris because they apparently don't know how to clean up after themselves. I usually manage to ride around the piles of garbage without too much trouble. But after a particularly violent thunderstorm the other night, there were shards of glass everywhere. Just as I was about to turn around and head back toward the paved bike path, I heard a hissing sound behind me. And I realized that I'd managed to puncture the inner tube in my rear tire. I got off my bike and managed to pull a sizeable chunk of glass out of the tire. Not such a good idea because that pretty much flattened the tire completely.

At that point, I had a couple of options. First option was to ride back home with the flat tire and basically ruin the rim. I wasn't sure exactly how much a new rim would cost, but I was pretty sure that it was more than I wanted to pay. Second option was to try and flag down an experienced rider with a patch kit and a mini bike pump and offer to pay him $20 to fix my flat. I only had a $20 bill and a credit card on me. But if I asked someone to patch the leak, it would probably take a while, and I would still need to replace the inner tube at some point in the near future. And what if the guy didn't really know what he was doing and wound up making things worse? My ex-boyfriend had a tough time getting my rear tire back on when he replaced my tires last year. And he works with bikes all the time. The third option was to walk my bike all the way back to the neighborhood bike shop, approximately 3 miles away. Although it would take about an hour, I figured once I got to the bike shop, they could fix my flat fairly quickly. And it probably wouldn't cost that much. So, I went with the last option.

And boy, it was a loooooong walk in the hot afternoon sun. But since I'd call the bike shop owner beforehand, he was expecting me. He had me in and out of there in 10 minutes flat (no pun intended). And he only charged me $9.95 (for both parts and labor) to replace the inner tube. Now that's what I call a good deal!

All this to say, sometimes it's best just to leave it to the experts. I know that my ex-boyfriend would've been disappointed that I didn't bring with me the patch kit and mini pump that he'd given me. But I can honestly say that if I had attempted to fix the flat on my own, it would have taken me twice as long and been just as expensive as walking all the way home and having the bike shop do it for me.

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