Just before we headed out for our Sunday ride, Dave mentioned that he forgot to grab his spare tubes, but at least he had his patch kit. I glanced at my bike and sure enough, my spares kit was missing too — I hadn’t reattached it after doing some maintenance earlier in the week. I grabed my kit, mounted it to the bike, and we took off.
About 15-20 miles into our 35 mile route, Dave picked up a flat on his rear tire. Not a slow leak that hisses rythmically while the wheel spins. It was a dramatic HISS/Whoosh and the tire completely emptied in just seconds.
While I dug a spare out of my kit, Dave removed the wheel and tube and began double checking that whatever caused the leak wasn’t still in the tire. It wasn’t. There weren’t ANY holes in the tire. Checking the tube and wheel, we discovered that the valve-stem had come completely off the tube — in fact, it was still in it’s proper position on the wheel.
With a spare tube, everything was reassembled and inflated, and we were back on the road in just a few minutes. It was rather fortunate Dave had mentioned spares before the ride or I wouldn’t have had one on hand — this incident drove home just how essential it is to carry at least one spare. Had we only had the patch kit, we would have been looking at a rather long walk back to the house.