A valve stem and passersby

We were on the bridge over the Gering Valley Drain on Highway 71 when it happened.

Whump! Ping!

“Wow, that was a really big rock,” I hollered to Bugman.

“What rock?” he yelled back from the front seat of the tandem.

Whump! Ping!

I looked down at the back tire, and . . .

“Argh! Pull over!”

Flat tire.

Out came the rim tools, spare inner tube, and mini pump.

In a matter of minutes, Bugman had stripped the flat tire off the bike and found a hole in the inner tube. Meanwhile, I scanned the tire for any possible re-puncture points. I found nothing but a hole. Stupid road debris.

With the spare inner tube in place, Bugman started to reassemble the bike. I posted a picture on social media to alert local friends, just in case something went wrong and we needed help getting back home.

Wyobraska Tandem flat tire

Day taking a detour. ‪#‎flattire‬

We took turns working the mini pump. It’s not much fun to inflate a 100-PSI road bike tire with a mini pump. Especially on the side of the road. At least it wasn’t raining.

But then . . .

Bugman attempted to remove the mini pump to check the pressure, and  – WHOOSH! – all the air suddenly released from the tire.

“Aw, crap!”

“Did the valve stem tear?”

“No, it came unscrewed.” (Didn’t know that could happen!) “Do we have a pliers in the bike bag?”

“Um – nope. Just the multi-tool with all the hex wrenches.”

Maybe we’d need to call on friends for a rescue after all??

Just then, a northbound vehicle slowed. The white suspension-lift SUV pulled a u-turn and rumbled up next to us in the southbound lanes, the men in the front seat peering over at us.

“Need some help?”

“Yeah – do you have a pliers? Our valve stem came unscrewed.”

After pausing to retrieve an empty can that fell when he jumped down, the passenger walked around to the back of the vehicle and rummaged in a large toolbox.

“Here ya go,” he said, handing the tool to Bugman.

“Ah, needle nose. Perfect!”

Bugman tightened up the valve stem and handed the tool back.

“Thank you!”

The SUV chugged away as we focused on inflating our bike tire again – successfully this time.

I didn’t ask for the names of our roadside rescuers, nor even catch where the vehicle license plate was from. Like so many people who stop to lend a hand with no thought of reward, they melted back into their everyday lives.

I sent them good-karma thoughts as we resumed our cycling journey on our newly-inflated tire.

Thanks, guys!

Copyright 2015 by Katie Bradshaw


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