On a recent ride through the center of Canada (Landmark) with the MIT we needed to stop due to a flat. Standing back and reviewing the process that took place it is evident that we all have roles to play when a flat occurs.
Everyone, the whole ride comes to a stop and the process begins with each of us taking on a role in the tube replacement process.
- the rider, whose tire is flat is responsible to get it changed as quickly as possible with all the distractions of the other riders and the pressure to get going again all the while remain calm and cool as the process will be criticized. This often a tough situation and one that everyone isn’t comfortable with. Critical factors include that the tools are used correctly, the tire and tube are removed in an orderly fashion. Removing the old tube installing the new tube then getting the tire seated without pinching the tube. Then getting the tire inflated with the options each of us carries from C02 cartridges to the air pump options. Nervous times!
- the bike holder, a critical role so that the bike is safe and the chain, gear cluster and crank do not make contact with the dirt. Usually doesn’t add much in commentary but does look around for other volunteers when his arm begins to pain.
- the overseer, another role that is somewhat helpful but not always appreciated, usually his role is to make sure all the various tools, tube and pump are handed over in a timely fashion. It is the ongoing directive commentary that is not always appreciated. This role often provides the ‘backup’ to pump up the tire if the rider gets to tired.
- the commentator, in this case with the orange vest. His role is to provide play by play commentary as to what he sees happening in front of him. The ongoing verbal dialog is often filled with colourful stories of past flats and from own personnel experiences. Note, nobody is paying him any attention.
- the bystanders, likely the second most critical role. They keep the important discussions going regarding latest antics of our new Prime Minister along with debating the merits of the Chinese immigrants taking the English language test here instead of China or the latest riding shmertz they have used to grease their riding shorts. It is bystanders role to take the group picture wave at the passing public and totally ignore the flat changing process.
It is important to note that the flat was changed in due process and the ride was continued. I need to note that no commentary was provided on the air pump and the action required to make it produce the critical volume of air to fill the tire as that will be left to a future post.