Helped a passing cyclist with an emergency repair

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1,681
Location
Winnipeg MB CA
I've been laid up for almost a couple of weeks now after crashing my bike. My left (dominant) hand and forearm are in a cast while my reattached thumb ligament heals after surgery a week ago. Glad I finished overhauling my friend's bike a few days before my accident, because I can't do much at present.

Getting antsy as this would normally be a great time to do outside work and some cycling.

Anyway, yesterday a fellow cyclist came to the door. We didn't know each other at all, but he'd been told by some construction workers that "the guy in that house fixes bikes".

He'd picked up a big nail, which had punctured the rear tubeless tire on his beautiful month-old Giant mountain bike. The bike was shod with 29 x 2.3" tires, had full suspension, and was equipped with a very nice 1 x drive train. Huge low gear on the cassette - looked like around 50 teeth.

Rather than a quick-release skewer, the rear wheel had a large hollow axle that screwed right into the frame. Nice system, new to me, and looked very robust.

Anyway, we tried pumping up the tire, but it didn't hold. Then I noticed that there was a 2nd hole where the nail had come out the sidewall. Apparently the sealant doesn't do well on sidewall punctures. The LBS where he'd bought the bike is near my house - about 2 km away - but their service department has been very backed up. I didn't have any good patches left or might have tried to patch the holes from the inside.

But anyway, I did have a few tubes on hand, and so we installed one, with one-handed me doing more supervision than hands-on work.

A fellow in the neighbourhood fell for a nasty scam a few weeks ago - a young man came to the door, said his tire was flat, and asked to use the homeowner's pump. The good Samaritan opened his garage, got the pump out, and filled the tire. The young man departed, but a few minutes later the homeowner heard a noise from outside. His garage door was open, his expensive fat bike was gone, and the young man's department-store bike was left abandoned. Hardly a fair trade.

So all of this was in the back of my mind while I tried to help this fellow. But he seemed very respectable and legitimate. As it turned out, he is a judge. Furthermore, my wife later realized that they had gone to junior high together. Small world!

Felt weird converting a bike from tubeless to tubed, but he was a long way from home and glad to be mobile again.
 
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2,293
Location
NY, NY
Nice Job, 35. You did the right thing, tubin' him up. I've actually helped people in that exact same situation get home with Safe T Seal tire plugs. I keep it in my Suburban. They work fairly well in fat bike tires.

About the second thing with the bikes being "swapped"...
Growing up in NY has taught me NEVER leave anything unattended. I would have helped the guy with a pump but my door would have been rolled back down and the door locked. I don't even like leaving the garage unattended to go inside for more than a couple of seconds. I usually ask my son to come out or even close the door. I have a dog but he's pretty friendly. Can't rely on him to keep out the riff raff.
 
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Rather than a quick-release skewer, the rear wheel had a large hollow axle that screwed right into the frame. Nice system, new to me, and looked very robust.

Anyway, we tried pumping up the tire, but it didn't hold. Then I noticed that there was a 2nd hole where the nail had come out the sidewall. Apparently the sealant doesn't do well on sidewall punctures. The LBS where he'd bought the bike is near my house - about 2 km away - but their service department has been very backed up. I didn't have any good patches left or might have tried to patch the holes from the inside.

But anyway, I did have a few tubes on hand, and so we installed one, with one-handed me doing more supervision than hands-on work.

sidewall punctures are definitely the one potential pitfall of tubeless. That said, I only carry a tube on really long mountain bike rides. Not to "blame the victim" but looking where you're going counts for a lot! You CAN actually patch a sidewall, but hard to do by the side of the road...

The axles were thru axles, which are now pretty much the standard for both road and mountain bikes. You're right, it's a very robust set-up, and worth the extra couple of seconds to remove a wheel.
 
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827
Location
indiana
Good job there Number 35 . I was unaware that there were tubeless tires on bikes. I have what i need for a tire tube patch job loaded on my bike along with a tire pump. If I see someone along a rise that looks like they have an issue I will ask if they need help. Most are ok , and let me ride off.
 

Number_35

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Messages
1,681
Location
Winnipeg MB CA
The judge dropped by a few days ago, with a card of thanks. Classy fellow! He's still running the tube, but may go back to tubeless at some point, as he likes to run the lower pressures tubeless allows without the risk of pinch flats. He kindly included a cheque for $30, which is enough for three tubes. Haven't cashed it yet, and sort of hate to make money off of helping someone, but may try to pay it forward in some fashion instead.

Nice Job, 35. You did the right thing, tubin' him up. I've actually helped people in that exact same situation get home with Safe T Seal tire plugs. I keep it in my Suburban. They work fairly well in fat bike tires.

About the second thing with the bikes being "swapped"...
Growing up in NY has taught me NEVER leave anything unattended. I would have helped the guy with a pump but my door would have been rolled back down and the door locked. I don't even like leaving the garage unattended to go inside for more than a couple of seconds. I usually ask my son to come out or even close the door. I have a dog but he's pretty friendly. Can't rely on him to keep out the riff raff.
It's funny, Winnipeg has a high crime rate, and bike thefts are very common, and yet we seem to live in some crime-free little enclave here. It's not a ritzy area at all, and certainly not a gated community, and yet we've been here for almost 29 years and have not had any problems yet. But I take as few chances as possible - the garage door stays shut when unattended, and I always lock our bikes with a shackle lock through the frame and cables through the wheels when we're out, but do know that a determined thief with a cordless grinder can go through the shackle lock like a hot knife through butter. Lucky so far with the bikes!
sidewall punctures are definitely the one potential pitfall of tubeless. That said, I only carry a tube on really long mountain bike rides. Not to "blame the victim" but looking where you're going counts for a lot! You CAN actually patch a sidewall, but hard to do by the side of the road...

The axles were thru axles, which are now pretty much the standard for both road and mountain bikes. You're right, it's a very robust set-up, and worth the extra couple of seconds to remove a wheel.
What with "real" patches becoming hard to find, I also carry a spare tube, along with tire irons and a pump. On longer rides, I've been saved by having a chain breaker tool and spare link. It's always a trade-off between the hassle of carrying the breakdown stuff, and how far I'm willing to push a bike.
Good job there Number 35 . I was unaware that there were tubeless tires on bikes. I have what i need for a tire tube patch job loaded on my bike along with a tire pump. If I see someone along a rise that looks like they have an issue I will ask if they need help. Most are ok , and let me ride off.
Agreed, most people pushing a bike turn out to be doing so for some reason other than a flat - but it never hurts to ask.
 
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