When you’re out in the woods and thirty miles from the nearest gas-station with a flat tire, there are certain considerations that WILL cross your mind. If you’re an Enduro rider you have come prepared with self-rescue items, including tools to wrestle-off a tire and equipment to patch a tube – and a “Buddy-Tow” if you’re bad, and a Space Blanket in case you are a complete failure and ready to face-off with Darwin. I always carry both.
It’s hot and demanding work in a Murphy-Location – a place not of your own choosing. Most likely it’s the worst possible location, at the worst possible time, because it’s not of your choosing – if it were easy you’d just deal with it easy and maybe even keep riding to your destination, shredding the tire and tube. Fix it later at leisure and in comfort.
But say it is not ideal, far from it: you are perched on a rocky incline facing the sun with no shelter or shade and only a nearby, inquisitive beehive and some snakes to keep you company. It was a magnificent climb up to this point of massive tire-failure, and you had a lot of adrenaline going and pushing you up – but now you are still 300-feet shy of the top, the adrenaline has waned in the 95-degree heat, and your Camelbak has two sips of water left.
Maybe you can get the whole wheel off and carry it up to the distant, shady, treeline and repair the puncture in comfort – yeh right, wearing giant clunky Enduro boots with crappy soles that slide backwards with every step in the soft soil. *Sip* There goes half your remaining water… So you must get on your machine, kick it over, and ride like a madman to the top where you fall into a coma of exhaustion.
Now you have a more or less flat place to begin repairs, and a tree stump – with another hive of bees in it. Who cares? You’re not afraid of a bee-sting, you’re more desperate than that. You wrestle with wrenches and the chain to remove the wheel, then with tire-irons to move the bead and get to the tube, then fiddle with the tube to find the hole and put a patch on it. Some guys just bring a spare tube. In any event it’s good to have a means to re-fill the air in the tire that you patched, and I used to carry a bicycle pump. You should try it some time…
After attempting to assist a friend during the Ridgerunner 500 (many years ago) who had a flat in a similar dirty-dusty and bee-infested location, the outright futility and extreme demand-for-effort that a hand-operated mechanism required, struck me across the face like a hot, greasy skillet.
I wanted to be a little higher-up on the food-chain than the position in which I found myself. I know that attempting to seat the bead of a tire on a rim with only a hand-pump would lead me to aneurysm and massive cardiovascular failure. I opted for Co2 – and carbon-tax be damned. After some fleeting efforts with the little fizzy-water sized cylinders that merely dribbled air into my tire I opted for the biggest goddamned compressed cylinders I could find – 25grams seems to do the trick, but there’s no such thing as overkill — I understand that 45gram cylinders are available.
Some folks find the cost extravagant and have difficulty overcoming that hurdle – but I can guarantee you that OUT THERE, where there’s a critical demand and nobody to criticize your budgetary constraints, the purchase results will seem miraculous and every bit worthwhile.
Since this stuff bounces all around, against tools and other hard objects in the pack, I sandwich the tender patches with a cardboard sleeve. I want them to work too.