After a busy last few weeks where I completed a website, an app, and yet another website, I thought I would take a day off and relax before attacking my next projects. I got up in the morning, did my usual stuff and decided to take a nice relaxing ride around the island. I do this as often as I can. Pedal off heading along South Roosevelt past Smathers Beach, onto Atlantic up to Higgs beach. Then criss cross over to the Southernmost point and up north either on Whitehead or Duval. Sometimes I stop somewhere along the way, take a few photos, park the bike over at the harbor and walk around looking at the boats, then back through the back streets of Old Town past all the cool little gingerbread houses and then either onto North Roosevelt, or lately, taking the mid island route over to the Publix where I grab some food and then head back to the boat. It’s a nice ride most times, a distance of about 12 to 14 miles. All level and despite the traffic, a pretty easy run.
So, as I said, I got up, did my usual, then grabbed the backpack, the camera, aired up the tires and off I went. All was as expected. Warm breezes off the ocean, some construction to dodge here and there, but a nice day overall. As I got around the turn on South Roosevelt I noticed the bike was pedaling sluggish. I looked down and sure enough, flat tire. I don’t carry a spare tube with me, nor do I carry a tire pump. And seeing as I had no change for bus fare, I started the long trudge of walking back to the marina, pushing a bike with a lame tire the whole way.
As it was, the walk was no big deal. It would probably be easier if I was wearing walking shoes instead of my usual boat shoes. Topsiders are not made for hiking, as a few blisters on the bottoms of my feet will attest. A bike ride that distance takes little more than 20 minutes if that much. Walking, over an hour. The upside, there is a nice little bike shop on the way.
At this point in the story I need to give a shout out here to Wecycle of Key West. Wecycle, formerly known as Recycle (they changed their name because those without a clue about looking up things online thought they were a drop off for recycled aluminum and such, not a bike shop), is the only bike shop on Stock Island. They are there on US 1 ocean side right before you get to the bridge into Key West. They are a full service shop with bike and part sales, repairs, and rentals. It’s an old timey type shop with lots of bike goodies hanging from the walls and ceilings, the repair racks right out on the floor, and always a nice supply of pretty new bikes for sale including: Kona, Bianchi, Raleigh, Diamondback, QuintanaRoo, Surly, Miami-Sun, Origin8, Catrike and Bacchetta. I hate going in there because they always have a nice shiny new bike sitting there that would look great sitting at my slip. Like yesterday when I saw that fancy Sun Revolution. Tempting, very tempting. But as always, I resist and head straight for the tire tube department. I was able to grab a new tube and continue with my trudging back to the boat. Yeah, probably could of had them fix the flat. But it’s not rocket surgery to replace a tire tube on a single speed coaster brake bicycle. I got back to the boat, replaced the tube, pulled the long sharp shard of metal that I had picked up somewhere along the way that caused my misfortune in the first place, and that was that.
By then it was near noon and I gave up on a round the island tour. So, instead I headed for the Publix center, stopped at Big Johns and had one of their very tasty shrimp parmesan subs, which reminded me of why I cannot wear a white shirt when I eat one of those things, got my grocery shopping for the next two days and back home. Not quite the way I planned it but at least it wasn’t the disaster it could have been.
Had I been riding a motorized vehicle a flat would have cost me a lot more. Possibly towing, replacing an expensive tire, etc. I used to carry a can of liquid tire seal to at least get me someplace safe and had used it on occasion, but still, replacing a tube on bike for $6.50 using a screwdriver and adjustable wrench, is a whole lot easier and less expensive.
Now I have to consider getting a new rear tire on the bike. This tire has been punctured three or for times and I could take a sharpie and draw a tread on it that would be thicker than what is left for rubber on there. I’ll probably get a thickerer tire next time, maybe an off road type. Rougher ride but at least it won’t be as likely to puncture if I run over a sand spur, a piece of wire, or a mosquito tries to bite it.
Or maybe that new shiny Revolution.
So much for a relaxing day off.