I feel like, as a cyclist, when we come across others of our unique breed we develop kinships quickly or innately have a bond in place due to out use of the bicycle. Obviously, the roadie is somewhat different here (I got a total dis by some roadies last weekend as I both waved and nodded and got a full head turn in the opposite direction of my swept back handlebars) but for the most part we all bond around the bicycle and come together so when I saw a gentleman up ahead on my way home yesterday, walking his bike, I knew this guy needed some assistance and rode ahead to provide it. In the course of our conversation a couple things stuck out for me. We discussed his riding buddies and their Dean titanium frames (he had a $2500 specialized epic something or other) and how they were pressuring him into getting something more unobtainable. I was a little astonished at this as his bike didn’t look nearly dirty enough to warrant another, more expensive bike when the one he had was quite the looker anyway. We proceeded to begin the process of removing the tube and finding the hole to patch when the real amazing stuff started happening. I saw that his tubes were of the Forte variety which I am not above purchasing myself but not what I was expecting in a $2500 bike. Next I saw that there were probably already 5-6 patches across the tube in areas where holes had penetrated numerous knobby rubbers into a impregnation of the butyl tube permitting the escape of treasured gasses.
I sat and watched from the guard rail and generally reveled in the variety of cyclists riding riverside drive at 5:30pm on a Monday and their plethora of differing steeds. Probably the guy riding the hardest (and thus accomplishing the goal of the recreational rider best) was the one on the $150 mongoose hybrid. Conversely, my favorite, the vintage 10 speed rider fully kitted out with cycling cap and all (skinniest 50 year old dude ever) looked to be exerting the least effort on his ride. He was probably only riding for style points anyway. Anyhow, as it were I started to think about how a flat tire is the same regardless on the initial cost of the bike, they suck, and the best advice I can give the dude with the $2500 Specialized to increase his performance, would be don’t buy tubes at performance as riding is better excersize than walking.