Strange and Dreadful Story of Two Flat Tires -
- and Lessons that were Learned

by Al Newman

     I had started out sea level and there I was, 4 days later, at 6000 feet weaving my way thru the heat waves of a 90degree afternoon in Trinidad Colorado lookin for the "Bull Moose" in charge of the up-n-coming 4th annual Trinidad Fun Run and Music Festival. I was buzzing around the area where the stage was being built and sort-a showin off as I answered those familiar questions, "What is that?" " Do they still make-em?" "Can you get parts?" Not to many Guzzi's around Trinidad . Anywho, just as my ego was ready to pop I heard that horrible hiss and my ego started going flat with my rear tire (why always the rear?) So I headed for the local motorcycle store (Honda) but only got about a quarter of a mile. She finally got too flat to roll right in front of a house of a kind soul, named Dennis, who had a shop with every tool in the world. "You can use any tool you need," he said, "but you gotta do all the work" Dennis just liked to watch and chat. Anywho, I pulled the wheel, broke-down the tire, pulled the tube, washed out the goo from a can of Fix-a-flat that didn't work, patched the tube, put it all back together , thanked Dennis, went back to the rally sight, hired on and set up camp. Next morning the tire was flat again. I put a new tube in it this time and that was that.
    Four weeks later I was crossing the North Cascades with 3 other riders, after a delightful time at the North Cascade Campout, and one member of our caravan picked up a 3 inch long 3/8 inch bolt. Now, you could throw a box of them bolts out on a road and ride over them all day and not much would happen but the "Eldo that looks like a Frog", caught that bolt dead center and it went right through the rear tire, in one side of the tube and out the other and was bangin on the rim before we knew it. Once again Fix-a -flat didn't work but between the four of us we had all the tools and necessities to get the job done under normal circumstances, but that poor-ole tire got chewed-up so bad that a patch would not take, even for just a little ways, so we put his front tire on the rear, mounted his forks onto my saddle bag rack and I pulled 'Rivvet' back to Port Townsend.
(NOTE! Don't believe this last part, Author prone to exaggeration)
Anywho, lessons were learned and Gizzmos were discovered.

    First off, you gotta have a good set of tire irons. My friend Rick-"the Stick"-Pazik turned me on to a great pair; 15 inches long, curved at one end, about $9.00 each Rick has never used them on a flat but says they come in handy for other things; Pry Bar, Digging Potatoes, Stirring the Stew, Cleaning the Chimney, etc. I will never feel secure riding on a tire with a patch. A brand new tube wont take-up much more space than a patch kit and will keep longer than some of the goop that comes with them kits. Even a new tube won't inflate itself so your goin-ta need an inflation system. On board compressor, built right into the engine would be cool. Mini tire inflators (Co2) worry me and I fear they could go the way of "Fix-a-Flat" sittin in a saddle bag for a few years. J.C. Whitney Co. has an air pump and tire repair kit (a steal at $9.98) with a mini compressor that fits in a spark plug socket-compression pumps fresh air. Pretty slick. When puttin it all back together sprinkle some talc in the tire to cut friction twixt the tube and tire and a little WD-40 will help a tire seat. Keep in mind the direction of rotation of rim and tire and make sure the valve stem is straight. Inflate tire over normal pressure, till it seats, let the air out and inflate again, to normal pressure, and get on your way. And now the horrible truth about the stuff in the can, "Fix-a-Flat': It Don't! How-ever if there is no other choice, and I cringe at the thought, Don't pull the nail or what ever- if it's still in- and remember the law of gravity and make sure the hole is down when putting the gooey stuff in, then when the can is empty, spin the wheel and pray. It won't work but at least when we find your body out there somewhere laying by your Guzzi with an empty can of Fix-a-Flat in your hand, we'll know you didn't give up and hope unto the end. Try to remember that fixin a flat, out on the road, can be a lot of fun if you got friends there to help. If there isn't anyone to help, better get your Karma Bell calibrated.

                                                                              "AL NEWMAN "

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