I'm planning my first long trip in the next few weeks. Well, long for me at 200 miles each way. This weekend, I planned to ride about 150 miles total, with some gear on the bike so I could get used to the weight.
About 60 miles or so into my ride, I was doing fine and enjoying the ride. I was on a two lane highway doing about 60 or so, when I started to lose speed and found myself unable to go over 55, then 50, etc. My first thought was that I must have run through the tank and needed to switch to reserve. But at only 60 miles in that couldn't be the case.
Then, everything got really squirrelly in the back and I began to wobble left to right. Uh-oh, flat tire! It took a few seconds, but that's what finally got through my head. A flat in the rear tire.
At this point, I let go of the gas and tried to control the ride. The wobble got very pronounced and the bike kept trying to pull left into the oncoming lane. Luckily there were no cars really close to me. I was able to get over to the road side and pull of on a small side road safely. Heavy breathing, check. Racing heart, check. Kept my head and got off the road safely, BIG CHECK.
Of course, everything else went well (NOT). My cell phone wouldn't work in that area. I normally carry a tire kit, irons, patches, pump, tubes, etc. Imagine my surprise when I remembered it was on the bench at home. So, no way to fix the tire, no phone service, middle of nowhere. It was shaping up to be a GREAT day!
This is where I get to tell about the kindness of strangers. I walked up to a nearby house across the road from where I stopped. A really nice old guy let me use his phone to get in touch with my wife and arrange a ride home. With a portable air tank, we drove over to the TW and aired the tire enough to ride about halfway to his place, and then aired again to get the rest of the way. I stored the bike in his garage and he drove me to the nearest town about seven miles away to wait for my wife to pick me up. I was pretty well stuck and this very nice man really helped me out. There are still good people willing to help a stranger!
Anyway, my slightly annoyed wife drove the hour or so from Dallas to get me, and I went back on Sunday with the truck to get my TW. Of course, kindness should be repaid, so I went with a 12 pack of Shiner for my rescuer.
I don't trust the tire after riding it while flat, and have ordered a replacement. In the mean time, I'm learning how to break the bead, patch the tube, and reinstall the tire. I'll treat this as a learning moment.
I'm a novice rider, and this was a little scary. For those of you who are also less experienced, please learn what you can from my experience. Always be prepared (I wasn't). Never let your guard down. This situation can be managed, but you can't lose your head. Don't Panic. All you want to do is get safely off the road. Everything after that can be managed.
So, I've ordered a new tire and tube and 2 bottles of Ride-On (for front and back) to put in when they arrive. Also, the tire kit is going back in the saddle bag and will stay there.
That's my story. Be prepared, don't panic, and hope there are good people around when you need them.