Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Chekov's Bike Pump

Chekov (the writer, not the guy who sat next to Sulu on the Enterprise) famously noted that "If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there." In the following true story Chekov's Gun is not the bike pump. It is, instead, a statement about the bike pump made by my lovely wife on the eve of our bike tour. While packing up Christine noted "You have a good bike pump, I don't need to bring mine." I, of course, nodded. Because I am an idiot. Fans of Chekov can see where this is going.

Christine and I both own Trek Allants. The Allants are wonderful, robust machines that have been our vehicles and companions on many fine journeys. This past July Christine and I both wrote small tributes to these bicycles on the anniversary of their first year with us. At that time I said little about the tires, hoping to preserve my membership in the No-Flat Club. And the first rule of No-Flat Club is that you don't talk about No-Flat Club. There are various explanations of why this is the way of the club, something my semi-fictional friend Perry may or may not have explained to me on a damp night a while ago, but last week in Poulsbo my No-Flat membership lapsed.

Riding into town the back of my bike felt a bit bouncier than it should. A blackberry thorn had worked its way through the tread and into the tube of the rear tire but of course I was prepared. I had a patch kit, a spare tube, tire levers and a pump that had sat idle on my bike for over a year. I guess I wasn't prepared quite enough.

An impressive layer of dusty, rusty corrosion revealed itself as I pulled back on the handle of my ancient, up until now trustworthy, Zefal pump. The pump made a wheezing sound like an asthmatic aardvark as I pushed the handle forward and bits of brown powder polluted the tiny bit of air that groaned out of the pump end. After that one test compression, the pump seized up, resisting any tendencies towards inflation with a tenacity that would make Alan Greenspan proud. I said something terse and colorful and then informed Christine that I would be stimulating the local economy of Poulsbo by purchasing a pump.

There may be a bike shop in Poulsbo, but on the particular Tuesday in question I found the Coast Hardware Store first. They had a pump, a big Bell Windstorm Floor Pump that gets lousy reviews on Amazon but gets a great review from me here because it was there in my hour of need and it worked just fine.

So that's how Christine and I finished our tour with me carrying a big floor pump for the last couple of days. And later that same day, I ran over a tack and flatted my front tire! The Puncture Fairy was working overtime to make sure I learned my lesson.

Keep 'em rolling,

Kent "Mountain Turtle" Peterson
Issaquah WA USA


fatbob29r said...

I knew there had to be a story.

The Velo Hobo said...

Pure luxury! Like carrying a full silver tea set, touring with a jumbo floor pump has to be the kind of extravagant luxury reserved for the upper crust of bike tourists. I would have deflated and reflated my tires many times just to enjoy the massive gulps of air those things exhale. Nice. Jack

Sam J said...

So now I'm supposed to carry two pumps? Or ride on half my normal allotment of tires? Bike repair is complicated.

Evan said...

The question remains what pump will you carry on your next tour?

Big E said...

"...asthmatic aardvark..." Pure poetry. :)

Bryan Willman said...

Sadly, the same processes that rusted your pump would likely have rusted Christine's.

No, the clear and only answer is to carry a pump made of titanium with seals made of bronze.