Thursday April 13, 2006 I was off
work for the afternoon and it was a beautiful day for a bike ride. It
also happened to be my son Jonathanís birthday and he wanted to take the
day off school because they were just going to be watching movies. I told
Jonathan he could stay home if he wasnít missing anything important in
school and he would agree to go on a bike ride with me in the afternoon.
I have been trying for a long time to get Jonathan to join the bike club.
Apparently he thought a bike ride was better than having to go to school.
Once we agreed to do a bike ride we
had to select a destination. If you know Jonathan you know that pizza is
his favorite food. The Sears which used to be a Kmart on Rochester Road
near Avon has a Little
Caesars pizza station
which has always been one of Jonathanís favorite places to eat. I
suggested we ride to Sears and have lunch, Jonathan agreed and we headed
Jonathanís bike is one of those
small BMX type bikes which arenít good for distance riding. Even though
this wasnít going to be a real long ride, it was still longer than
Jonathan was used to doing so I got down my old spare back up bike for him
to ride. Since Max was the last person to use this bike we had to raise
the seat up a little, but overall it worked just fine. I actually had
more problems with my bike on the ride home while Jonathan didnít have any
issues at all. My problem was a flat tire which I will expand on later.
The weather was very nice. It was
cool, but sunny which made for perfect bike riding weather. We started
out heading south through the neighbor hoods and past Long Meadow School.
I took Jonathan through the secret trail that connects the Long Meadow
playground to another subdivision on the other side. From there we rode
over to Walton east to Helen Street just past the Hospital. We rode
through this neighbor hood until we came to a dead end and I showed
Jonathan how we carry our bikes through a brushy area over to the Clinton
River Trail. We were only on the trail a short distance until we came to
Livernois and cut over to Avon where we headed east toward the shopping
center. I think Jonathan enjoyed the trail, even though he figured out it
wasnít the most direct route and he complained a little about the extra
riding we did.
Once we were on Avon it is up hill
most all the way to Rochester Road which makes this a fairly difficult
stretch. Jonathan actually did a good job on this stretch and he didnít
complain too much. The nice thing about the end of this uphill stretch is
we were at our lunch destination. We pulled into the Sears parking lot
and locked our bikes next to the door. I took a couple picture of
Jonathan both during the ride and at lunch since he is the latest addition
to the bike club. See the bottom of this page for the few pictures I took
with my phone during this ride. The one thing Jonathan didnít have a
problem with was eating lunch. We both enjoyed our lunch and it gave us a
chance for a short rest before the ride home.
I told Jonathan we would take a
direct route home, no side trips through trails. We were making good
progress riding at a good pace when we arrived near the intersection of
Livernois and Walton. As we slowed down to make a tight turn I could hear
a hissing noise. I have relatively good hearing and I picked up the
hissing noise early in its existence. I was hoping the noise wasnít what
I suspected, no luck it was definitely air leaking from my rear tire.
Obviously I must have run something over, which created a slow leak. By
the time I stopped to check out the situation and look things over quite a
bit of air had leaked out and the tire was close to flat. I took out the
portable hand air pump from my burrito basket and tried filling it up to
see how long it took for the tire to go flat again hoping I could ride a
decent distance and maybe be able to do this four or five times and still
be able to ride home. At this point were approximately 4 miles from the
entrance to our subdivision. I was able to get almost a half mile before
the tire was so low that I had to stop and fill it up again. At this
point I didnít even bother putting the pump away, I just held it in my
left hand as I rode along to save time by being able to hop right on my
bike and start pedaling right after filling the tire. This way I could
maximize my time before the tire lost pressure again. This worked well
the first few times, but the time between refilling was getting less each
This was quite a work out having to
pump as much air as I could into the tire each stop with that small hand
pump. Then once I got back on my bike I rode as fast as I could to get as
far as I could before having to stop again. Jonathan just paced himself
to get a little behind when I first would take off and then catch up when
I would have to stop to refill. I have to admit I was very tired after
this ride. I probably had to stop about ten times to add air to the
We got to Adams High School when I
made my final refilling stop. I only got a couple hundred feet before the
tire was flat again, the slow leak was quickly turning into a fast leak.
This time I just walked the rest of the way home which was only about one
mile, no big deal. It was actually just as good a day for a walk as a
bike ride, so I didnít mind. Jonathan walked part way with me to keep me
company and then he rode the last quarter mile or so home.
I know what you are thinking, why
didnít I just take out the spare inner tube I carry in my burrito basket
and fix the flat. I thought of this as well and I decided it is always
better to take your time properly fixing a flat making sure you find the
source of the problem otherwise you will just end up puncturing the new
tube. When I got home I did just that, I took my time and removed the
tire and tube. I quickly found the small hole in the tube. It took me a
few minutes but I eventually found the source of the puncture. It was a
very thin piece of metal about 1/32 of an inch thick and about 3/16 of an
inch long. I had to use a pair of needle nose pliers to pull it out of
the tire. After removing the problem I put the new tube in and installed
the tire back on the rim and then onto my bike. I was back in business
ready for my next ride.
Even with the flat tire on the ride
home I found this to be a very enjoyable ride with Jonathan. Hopefully I
will be able to talk Jonathan into riding with me again some day.
Following are the statistics from
this ride, 14.6 miles total, 28.0 max mph, 1 hour and 29 min time on bikes
and 10.1 average mph.