It’s a quiet late summer day and I’ve got nothing going on. I got another flat tire while out riding my bicycle today. Well, it actually didn’t go all the way flat. I’ve been having some strange flat tires like that this summer. For years and years I never once heard my tire go flat. Usually I’m riding along, the wheel goes soft, and then the wheel quickly goes flat. The whole process takes ten seconds and there is no riding on it after that.

These new type of flat tires are different in that I hear a hissing as the air escapes. But then the hissing eases and, with about three quarters of the air left in the tire, turns into a slow leak. That happened two me at least three times this summer. Each time I had enough air in the tire to make it back home. Strange.

I’ve attempted to get some new treads for my bike tires but so far I’ve had no luck. With no bike shop close by I’ve been looking on the internet for some but it turns out that it’s not easy to shop for bike treads that way. There are so many different kinds and different sizes. I got one from a bike shop that looked promising. It had some extra thickness to the tread so as to provide a bit more protection against punctures which was something I was looking for. I think the thinness of my current treads plus a bit of wear have left my tires vulnerable to punctures.

When I went to put the tread onto my tire I found that I couldn’t get it to fit. It was listed at the correct size 700/25c (I’m not even sure what that means I’m from the days when tires were measured in inches) and was the right circumference but the extra rubber in the middle of the tire made it too hard to bend and as a result was too wide. I couldn’t force both sides of the tread under the bead of the rim. It wouldn’t go no mater what I did. Much to my dismay I had to pack them up and return them. Now I’m looking around again.

The second strange thing with my bike was when it was making a clanking noise. Since I ride outside in all sorts of weather my bike doesn’t get treated delicately. The phrase, “Ridden hard and put away wet” is literal when it comes to my bicycle. I try not to ride in the rain but I sometimes get caught in it. Plus I ride after it rains which gets the bike and me wet anyway. After a rain ride is also when the bike makes strange noises. Usually a day or two after a rain ride I have to lubricate various parts again as the rain washes stuff away. The noises stop after everything is good and greasy again. But not this last time.

After a rain ride I started hearing a strange clanking sound. I wasn’t sure where it was coming from but I eventually tracked it down to the pedal crank. It was clanking or clicking as I pushed down on either pedal. It would take some force though. If I got off the bike and turned the pedals it wouldn’t make a noise. I had to be bearing down on it. “Weird”, was what went through my head. It was quite a distraction because the noise was fairly loud. After I got the bike home I got my WD40 out and lubed up the crank and everything else. It somehow didn’t do any good.

I must have cycled for two or three weeks with the bike making that noise. I lubed it up everyday for a week and that didn’t help. I got caught in the rain one time and I hoped that might help, y’know the rain giveth and the rain taketh away, but that didn’t do anything. The clanking noise was beginning to get really annoying. I’d never heard a bike make a noise like that before. I was beginning to think that I was going to have to take apart the crank to see what was in there. Then I had another rain ride and the noise went away. I have no idea why. It makes no sense to me but why would it since I never found out what was making that noise in the first place.

Despite flat tires and clacking noises I’ll have to declare this bike a success. It’s my third summer riding it and though it might not be considered a great bike by aficionados I’ll have to say that it’s done the job for me. I have no idea what it’s stats are or what it’s made out of so I can’t even tell you that. I bought it from an internet bike company (not available in stores) in the spring of 2009. It’s pretty well made as I’ve put it through a lot. I don’t think I’d want to ride a fancy $2000 bike out in the rain and snow but this one I will.

One thing I never got to finish doing was decorating the bike. It’s an awfully bland looking thing. It’s grey and not very flashy. When I first got it it looked so dull to me that I decided to spruce it up with a little electrical tape. I had a few rolls of colored half inch tape lying around and I wrapped some of the tubes with it. It was looking quite Mondrian-ish except I ran out of tape. I only got it a third of the way done and it’s remained that way ever since. It looks better that it did all monochrome grey but I always wanted to finish it. Maybe someday. Funny thing is that one of my friends thought the bike was really old. It was the tape that made him think so. I guess because usually it’s old things that get taped up and not new things. But not my things. I’ve used that tape to decorate all sorts of mundane objects. I’me going to have to get more of it. Maybe when I get that new tire tread.