Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Repairing Flat Tires and Thinking it May be Time to Retire

During the course of my running adventures across states and countries, I acquired a lot of experience repairing flat tires on a jogging stroller. Depending on the journey, the stroller weighed anywhere from 65 pounds to 105 pounds. On hot days when the pavement's surface was up around 140 degrees, I would have a challenge with flats due to the tires becoming very soft and more susceptible to punctures.

I was asked several times what I did to try and prevent punctures. One item I used was called Slime Bike Tube Protector Liners -- which was positioned between the rim and the tube. I rolled the stroller on Kenda tires, which allowed it to roll more smoothly. I could get about 800 miles out of that tire. I carried puncture repair supplies and would perform a tire repair right along the edge of the roadway, unless it was pouring rain, hailing or snowing -- in which case I would simply put a new tube into the tire and repair the punctured tube once I arrived at my destination for the day.

The most challenging tube repair I did occurred in the middle of the Mojave Desert in 40 mile per hour winds. I had dealt with many flat tires as I ran across the Mojave and was at a point where I was out of new tubes and the ones that I had looked like a patchwork quilt. I was also running low on patches. I got a flat on one of the back tires and was in windswept sand. I needed to repair the tube in order to keep moving with my then 90-pound load -- about half of that weight being 5 gallons of water I was pushing. The puncture wasn't apparent to the eye and the wind wouldn't allow me to hear where the air was escaping from. I used some of my water supply to dip the tube into water and then pumped it with air so that I cold visually see where the puncture was. It was time consuming and challenging, but I managed to repair the tube and wrap up that day.

On every running adventure I did -- whether it was across America, Germany, Alaska or the Mojave Desert -- I always carried an ample supply of tire/tube repair materials. When you're all alone in the middle of nowhere, you have to be able to handle whatever comes up in order to keep moving forward.

I'll admit that there were days as I was repairing yet another flat tire that I thought perhaps it was time for me to retire from pushing a jogging stroller. Well, that day finally came in November 2016 when I officially retired from running solo across states and countries.

Keep Reaching For Life's Mileposts,