It started in the spring, actually, when the back tire went flat. I took it to the shop to get it fixed, only to have the tire go flat again two days later. I brought it back to the shop, where Rick pulled a tiny fragment of glass from the outer tire out as the culprit and replaced it for free, given the timing. He also sold me a set of inserts to protect the tire from going flat. Rick assured me there was no need to replace the tire, just the inner tube. Inwardly, I resolved that if I got another flat that summer I'd find out how to change my own bloody tire, because getting it to the bike shop when I don't own a car was way too annoying.
A couple of months later, I ran over a car key lying on the side of the road. My front tire kicked it into the chain, where it whipped around several times and ripped a few holes in the back tire's inner tube. The tire deflated instantly. I had no money on me. I started walking the bike home, and got less than a block when a kindly woman who lived in the neighborhood offered me and my bike a ride home. <3 Lut went to Wal-Mart a few days later and picked up a "self-repairing" bike inner tube, which contained the same kind of goop that fix-a-flat uses to patch holes in car tires, and a normal patch kit that came with the tire-tools one needs to get a bike tire off the wheel. I watched a couple of Youtube videos on changing bike tires, and replaced my dead tire with the self-repairing one. I rode around on it for 30 minutes and it seemed fine.
An hour later, the self-repairing tire had completely deflated.
I pulled it out again: it had several holes in the same section (not the same area that my last tire had been destroyed in.
I patched up the first flat tire with the patch kit, and put it in.
On my next trip to Wal-Mart, I bought a manual bike pump, exchanged the self-repairing tire for another one, and a regular inner tube. I made a point of bringing the pump, patch kit, and one of the spare tubes with me when I went biking from then on. (I didn't keep it on the bike because I didn't think the temperature changes in the garage would be good for the uninflated tube.)
On August 19, I ran over another key. I remember the date because I tweeted about it:
Rear Bike Tire: "Broken key! My archnemesis! We meet again!"
Broken Key: *impale*
Tire: "...and you ... win ... again." *dies*
It went vertically into the tire. Like a knife stabbing at its heart.
Do not misplace your keys. Those things are KILLERS.
But I had my tire repair kit with me! I walked the bike into the shade of a gas station, took off the tire, replaced the tube, re-inflated, and biked home feeling like a CHAMPION. I had the knowledge, the tools, and the parts, and used them all successfully! \o/
Which brings me to today, when I heard the loud bang of my rear tire blowing out as I was on my way home from the library.
This was not a puncture or even an innertube shredding. It was the tire itself tearing along a three-inch section where the tire meets the wheel. I carry a spare inner tube. It is not really feasible to carry an entire spare tire on a bike.
(Lut: "What are you going to do? Carry a spare bike on your bike?"
Me: "Maybe I could get one of those collapsible bikes ... ")
The moral of the story: You are never prepared ENOUGH. I walked the bike the three miles to home. At least it didn't happen on Sunday when I was eleven miles from home.
Which reminds me: I should make that car reservation for this weekend. At least I was planning to rent a car this weekend anyway.