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exhalations
Thursday, August 09, 2007
 Baltimore Bicycling Club president rides a recumbent 
He's also the director of Cycle Across Maryland.


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 Paris bike program a success 
According to a recent article in the London Times, the bike rental program started in Paris on July 15 has been a great success:
Parisians appear to be enjoying their new found pedal power. In the first three weeks of the worlds biggest bike rental scheme, the 22kg (48lb) machines were borrowed 1.2 million times. Each is being used six times a day on average, usually for the short trips that are encouraged by the pricing scheme.
The article, entitled Parisians show their va va voom as city rolls out 'freedom' bike scheme, discusses some of the unintended consequences of the program.
In Paris there have been few teething troubles with the high-tech system that supplies the bikes for up to 1 per half-hour but one is a result of residents using them to glide downhill to work and then taking public transport home, resulting in gluts of bikes at some low-level stands and shortages at higher altitude stations, such as Montmartre.


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Sunday, August 05, 2007
 Walking the bike 
Sometimes, no matter how prepared you think you are, you just have to walk the bike. On Thursday I prepared to leave work for the 6 mile commute home when I noticed I had a flat rear tire on my commuter bike, the Rans V-Rex. It's always a pain changing a blown tube on the rear of the bike. It's not easy putting it in a bike stand, and I have heavy panniers that must first be removed before doing anything. I had recently installed a new, flat-resistant Schwalbe tire hoping to avoid the problem for a while.

What I think happened is that the tire may not have been inflated properly and the rim strip was a little narrow, and I got a pinch flat crossing the trail detour at the Piney Branch. The bridge has been out for over a year and the temporary gravel trail is in poor shape, and I tend to ride too fast across the worst stretch located at the bottom of the hill.

I replaced the tube and was on may way. About 1/2 mile past the bridge detour I heard a hissing sound from the rear tire. At this point I wasn't sure what had caused the earlier flat; I should have taken the time to figure it but I was in a hurry to get home. Anyway, it turns out that the tube punctured in the same spot, where there was an exposed spoke hole and the rim strip didn't cover it completely. My bad.

I didn't have another spare so I tried patching the hole. It lasted long enough for me to remount the tire, put the wheel back in the rear dropout, and listen to the air hissing out from under the patch. The second and last patch was just as effective. Although several cyclists offered to help, none had the proper tube, a 26-inch narrow tube with a presta valve. There wasn't much alternative other than to walk home, about a mile and a half. It actually felt good to walk for a change, although bike shoes weren't the best footwear. I was a little late getting home, but it was a small inconvenience. I will be much more careful in the future; vowing to always carry a spare tube, plenty of patches, and to make sure the source of a flat is diagnosed properly and fixed.

I left the bike in the basement and retrieved one of my others for a ride the next day. I couldn't face installing another tube on the recumbent. One of the advantages of having more than one bike is that there are usually plenty of options when one is sick. I eventually replaced the rim strip and tube and should be set for a while.

The Bike Friday now has a new chain and cassette and is ready for any new adventures that may require a folding bike.


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