Sunday, July 11, 2010

06/25/10 - Journey, Accident, Repair, Rescue - Part 2 (of 3!)

Started 7/11. Start of the repair. I wandered around Northern Tool (NT), to see what they had. Repair option 1: replace the inner tube (the easiest option). They did not have ANY 16" tubes, although they sold entire 16" wheels (spokes, rims, tubes and tires) for utility use such as carts, etc. In hindsight, I could have saved a lot of time buying an entire wheel, taking the tube out, and replacing my hog's front tube. That would have been a much higher-priced option, too...

My hog, awaiting repair on Northern Tool's sidewalk

Repair option 2: Patch the tube (not difficult, and probably the least expensive option). NT had some patch kits, but I initially skipped that option, because I suspected that the tube was damaged when I turned my hog and first noticed the flat...

Repair option 3: Make a small, wheeled platform, to strap beneath the damaged wheel. I gathered and purchased the least expensive parts to accomplish this. Along with basic, cheap hand tools, this solution still cost $35+ I walked out of the store to my wounded hog, and thought that there must be a cheaper way.

Repair option 2: Patch the tube. What, heading backwards? Well, I was highly suspicious that the tube was beyond repair, but I figured that I should at least take a look. I returned all of the parts from the cart/dolly solution, and bought the tube patch kit that had the largest patches.

When I took the tube out, my suspicions did come true. There were cuts in the tube too large for the patches in the kit to repair... Big holes aren't reliably patched, either. :(

Repair option 4: replace the tube with high density foam or a strong, appropriately-sized tube. Back to wandering around NT again. I'm not the most graceful walker since my operation and treatments. Off-balance, slow, and not used to walking far. The employees of the store surely wondered, "what is wrong with this guy, and why has he been here for hours?"

After browsing through the store for a while, I discovered a product that might do the job. A type of tie-down. They were basically 17" long, steel wire surrounded by medium-density foam with plastic end caps to hold them together. They are almost 1/2" in diameter. They are packed in groups of 4 for $5. Ten dollars later, I was out of NT (once again) with 8 of them to attempt option four.

Repair option 4: fabricating a pseudo-inner tube

Around this time, I took a quick break and ate an exotic lunch, A Snickers bar that I had bought at NT. How exciting!

Option 4 nearly finished, note tie-down package on the ground

Option 4 result, fairly decent for a temporary repair

Once installed, option 4 looked like it would work. In actual performance it worked pretty well, with one issue... My attempt at the "ideal" placement of the tie-downs failed as their was a "flat spot" on each wheel revolution, basically a "clunk" you could feel once every time the wheel completed a full spin. Annoying and probably caused premature wear on the tie-downs, but at this point my main interest was riding home, ASAP! It wasn't surprising that my placement of the ties was less than ideal, as they were wedged into the tube's space...

I rode about 3 miles back toward my house before contacting Laura about my "situation." I would have ridden all of the way home, but Laura was concerned about my potential late arrival (7:00PM+ ?) and my limping hog. I had to enact my "rescue" plan. Laura's car is a VW beetle (too small for the hog) and I temporarily don't have one (I don't drive anyhow due to my health and risks). First, I asked her if our neighbor was home (he has a pick-up truck), unfortunately, he was not. Then, I called a friend and former co-worker. By that time, it was very close to 5:00PM.

I was surprised that I caught Mike still at the office. If he were at or close to home, I would just call the next person on my "list." Lucky me he was still at work, unlucky him :(. He agreed to come and pick me up, as well as my hog. He has a smaller SUV, a Honda Element, but it has a lot of configuration options. As he wrapped things up at work and got on his way, I just kept pedaling...

As Mike got closer, I chose a convenient place for him to pick me up (actually the parking lot of Michael Baker's office which I had visited earlier that day). It is noted by the red triangle containing an explanation point on the GPS track shown below in part 1 of this this post. When he arrived, he was able to fit my hog into his vehicle by adjusting a few items. After that, he took me home (about 5 miles). I was grateful, but Laura was even even more grateful and happy that I wasn't limping home on my hog. Thanks again, Mike!

Waiting for my rescue

I guess there is a moral to this story. Be prepared for the unexpected. Luckily, my accident occurred near a hardware shop. I did not have any tools or supplies on me, :(. I was ill-prepared in that respect. The first items I ordered on the internet when I got home were basic bike tools.

Part 3 of this post will have details about the repair after I got home. Yes, I did wait about 10 days before repairing my hog! I didn't want to see it for a few days, and the other delay was waiting for parts I ordered on the internet to come in.

Oh, in real time, it is now 7/13... :(