This Space for Rent

Amusingly over the top bicycle catastrophe of the day

I was on my way home from work on my usual direct route (from downtown I take Hawthorne, Clinton, and Division St out to the i205 bike path, then take that down to the Springwater Trail or Flavel St, then work my way back to Westmoreland via a constantly changing permutation of streets and (ex-)railroad ROW) when I fell in behind a gentleman riding his new(ish) Trek carbon fiber bike. He was running a teeny bit slower than I was, and I figured that in my good time I’d pass him, but I was still behind him when his back tire seemed to explode in a huge puff of talcum powder.

He didn’t wreck, but he skidded to a stop pretty quickly, and when I stopped to see if he needed any help we were initially confused about what happened. We though it must be a shard of glass, so he walked back to the (easily identifiable, thanks to the splotch of talcum powder) point of impact, while I looked casually at his now-flattened rear tire.

It didn’t take much of a look to see what had actually happened. Apparently he’d run over a broken spoon handle, and from the looks of things the front wheel flipped the handle up on end just in time for the rear wheel to run directly into it, thus punching it through the tread, the tube, then the tube again, and finally the sidewall, after which point it followed the rapidly deflating wheel up and around until it jammed itself into the rear brake.

I offered to pull out my repair kit and try to boot the (brand new; he said that he’d bought the tires yesterday!) now-dead rear tire so he could ride back to his LBS and replace it, but he, understandably, decided he’d just rather shoulder his lightweight bike and walk on back to the shop.

And here I thought that the nails that my 650B tires picked up during my short experiment with that wheelsize were something impressive. But now I see that they’re nothing on the catastrophe scale, because they at least had points instead of a crude chisel end.