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A more exciting day than expected
I hopped on my bike this afternoon to head to City Hall to drop off my mail-in ballot, and promptly ran over a pin and exploded my rear tire.

So I went to the bike shop instead, and got two new inner tubes (one for backup!). Then I dropped off my ballot and changed the tube. This is the first time I've changed a tube on a bike. It wasn't difficult, but it required more strength than I was expecting. Also I had a little trouble getting the wheel properly seated when I put it back on (I've not removed the rear wheel before, either), but it is all better now.

I don't think my hands have ever been that dirty before.

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You should at the very least get kevlar reinforcements inside your tires. Personally I recommend just going all the way to hard case tires. They're more expensive, but I've never had a flat, or had to change an inner tube, in the last 8 years, which includes at least 3 and a half years of bike-heavy car-free life in the bay area. I've picked out glass shards, nails, and sharp stones from the rubber, without any problems, and the pot holes and round spiky organic things that litter the ground around here are no risk at all.

The bike shop in Sunnyvale is especially good for hard case tires; if you're interested let me know and I can get you more details.

Well, this is actually also the first time I've had an inner tube in need of replacement; I have had a flat tire once before, but that was because an overloaded rack wore away the outside of the tire until it went kablooie. (Shoulda seen it coming. Shoulda got a better rack.)

But if I get fed up, I'll let you know.

*suspicious* You've never gardened or worked on a car before? Or were they actually just THAT dirty?

Gardening? Bah. Dirt comes off easy.

I think the runner-up may be the time I climbed the pine tree and got quite thoroughly coated in sap.

Ahhh. The factor you're talking about is the persistence of the grunge, not the grunge itself.

If you're going to continue working on your bike yourself, get used to it...although you'll probably get better at avoiding SOME of the grime as you've done things a couple times. I can change a tube now without any permanent epidermal stains.

Some sort of combination of coverage and persistence, I think. Hm. With a factor for nastiness -- coated in honey? Persistent and thoroughly covered, but not really dirty.

Unless you do it right. :)

A rear tube?

What do you do to hold the chain out of the way?

Mmmmm, women bike mechanics...

Oh, sorry.

Um, yay, you!

Heh. :) I will have to work on it some to get that title; I paid the store lots of money just last weekend to replace my brake pads (and do a general tune-up etc.), which is probably not that hard either.

That's awesome!

I still haven't changed my own tire. I'm a little afraid of it, as I was afraid of changing my harp strings. What if I can't put the bike back together again?

Well, if you mess it up, you take it to the store. Which is what you'd be doing if you had them do it from the start, anyway! (Ooh, that's convincing-sounding. I will use it on myself next time something breaks.)

I'm so low on time these days that when I had a flat rear tire recently I just walked my bike to a bike shop a few blocks away and had them change it for $10 while I was getting groceries next door, instead of spending more time wrestling with it myself.

I do want to get around to going to one of the free women & transgender bike workshops that a local organization puts on, one of these days ...

Ooh, a workshop would be neat.

Well clearly your first problem was deciding to hand-deliver your MAIL-IN ballot, silly girl.

The dirt is merely karmic punishment for half-heartedly procrastinating. (A whole-hearted procrastinator would have put off thinking about the ballot until after the results of the election were announced.)

But I'd have to put two stamps on it! That would cost money!

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