Tempting fate with the flat gods

I’m one of those Boy Scout type of cyclists. I ride prepared. I got lights, I got a tool kit. I got a spare tube. I got first aid supplies. And I have a pump. In fact, I have a pump for every one of my bikes. Since my kit switches up with each bike, I can’t do that “have just one pump because I just use the same pannier on every bike I own” because I’d assume a pump to be in a bag when it’s not.* No, I have a pump strapped to each of my bikes, ready for use.

Or so I thought.

On Sunday February 4th, the Day of Sports Bowl, Emee and I decided to take an afternoon bike ride. While it was cloudy, it was dry with a high scraping 60F/16C, and the tantalizing promise of light traffic. I had the Robin Hood path racer, so naturally I encouraged Emee to bring her green Raleigh Sports, not just we’d be (sorta) matchy couple. No, also since we had just installed a lovely Brooks B18 saddle on it and she needed to test it.

“But I don’t have my pump with me!” Emee exclaimed. “That’s okay,” I replied, “I have mine.” This was technically true, my Zefal Lapize was clearly mounted to it.

We got a mile into the ride and paused at the top of a hill. I looked at the pump, and noticed that the hose was missing. This is an “old style” pump, and the removable hose nests inside of the tube. I had mounted the pump upside down, with hose end on bottom because I stupidly felt it “mounted” better that way. Well, now I learned that the hose doesn’t sit in as securely as suspected. We were just a mile in and could have turned around to fetch another pump, but I didn’t want to kill the momentum.** And besides, when was the last time I flatted on any of my bikes? Summer, probably. I’ll be okay.

And of course, within another mile or so, thump-thump-thump.

We were now on the I-205 Bike Path next to the Gateway Green Bike Park. You’d think with all the time and money invested into this new urban MTB park, a fix it station avec pump would be de rigueur. Nope. And that light traffic? It meant we didn’t see any other cyclists, so no pump to borrow. So we walked fifteen minutes to the MAX station and went back to Emee’s house.


So of course I needed another hose. This isn’t the first time I had this quandary. The original hose was in the handlebar bag that got nabbed on Election Day 2016, the same bag that had moosemoose on it. (Oh, moosemoose…)

I got around to replacing the hose last year. (Moosemoose, no replacement yet. 😦 ) And it’s sort of a funny story: I bought the hose from an eBay seller, as I could get it direct from Zefal in France, but the eBay seller was in California, so y’know, faster. It took a month for it to get here due to the seller’s ineptitude. (Seller charged me first-class parcel rate, but wanted to just sneak by with a Forever stamp. It got returned to him, and he put the make up postage on the back. And whose fault was all this according to the seller? The post office, of course.)

This time I ordered it from Zefal, and will wait patiently. But interestingly enough, it cost about the same to get two replacement hoses plus a couple spare parts than it would for just one hose from a US seller. And yes, this is factoring in shipping.

ADDENDUM 2/13/18: I ordered the items from Zefal on Sunday, and the package arrived on Friday. Five days! 

In the meantime, I’ll make sure I have a working pump on every ride!

*Some days, I wish I was that “same pannier on all my bikes” type of person.

**I know some of you who live in more rural areas would be aghast at me doing this. But I knew we’d be in the city the whole time, with transit accessible with a little walk. I wouldn’t be totally stranded if something happend.

4 thoughts on “Tempting fate with the flat gods

Add yours

  1. I am still sad about MooseMoose! He always had a good comment or 2 in your comics and it was fun to look for him in your pictures.
    I do the same as you, a pump and kit for each bike.
    My pump story…
    One time I flatted about 16 miles from home in the middle of nowhere, grabbed the frame pump only to remember that I had recently changed the wheel set and now had presta valves and the pump was Schrader only. I did not have a knife but chewed the top off a presta cap and was able to clamp the Schrader on and get about 25psi in the tire, limped gingerly home.

  2. Really like the Zefal pumps, I have two of them, they do work better with the hose 😉 You think all those time riding with a pump that you should build up some karma for getting away with riding with out one, c’mon cycling gods!

  3. Rural dweller here, but not aghast. I’ve have gambled in ways I’m too ashamed to admit. I’ll just say preserving the momentum is something I know about.

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