After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?
Last night, about a mile or so from the train station, my bike started emitting a very strange noise. I rode for a little ways, thinking, What a strange, moss-covered rock!…oops, sorry, wrong thought. I actually spent that 30 seconds wondering what on earth the noise was. It took me very little time to realize that, whatever it was, I needed to stop and investigate more thoroughly. Time almost never improves a situation that involves strange, unidentified noises emitted by moving vehicles.
As the more savvy of you have probably figured out by now, I had a flat. The reason I failed to immediately recognize the sound of air escaping my high-pressure tire was that the fender/blown air interaction completely threw me off. Turns out the air hissing out of the tire sounds totally different when it immediately hits a plastic fender for 60% of the wheel rotation. Alas, stopping showed me clearly the nature of the problem, which — also alas — was located on the back tire. Some piece of glass (long since vanished) had slit right through the rear tire and punctured the tube.
After spending a moment grateful that my flat happened on the way home, not on the way to work, I flipped my bike over. I wanted to change the tire quickly, but I also knew that last time I ended up spending 45 minutes wrestling with the tire and wheel, ending up liberally greasy, sweaty, and disgruntled. So, as began the tube-changing process, I also kept my eye out for any passing motorist who might see my predicament and help me.
I had just taken the wheel off and started on the tube when somebody pulled into the driveway of the house I had stopped in front of. He came out and asked if I needed anything, and I admitted that a phone call would help enormously. So he kindly led me inside, provided me with a phone, and accepted my flurry of thanks afterwards. I called Ian with an SOS, since I expected this to take me a good 40 minutes, and I wanted to get home before 7:00.
Then I changed the tire.
Oddly, it took a total of 14 minutes — including the phone call — and I had no trouble whatsoever with any part of it. The tire, which I intend to continue using, because the slit is truly microscopic, easily popped off and on the rim. I had an extra tube, which I pumped up as much as I could with my little hand pump. I put the rear wheel back on the bike without getting greasy at all. The whole experience left me feeling delightfully accomplished, but also a tad frustrated: I have gotten three flat tires, all in the back. OK, maybe four, and one in the front. Still, what the heck? Why is it always the harder wheel that needs work?
Incidentally, one side benefit of disc brakes is that no brake pads get in the way of taking your wheels on or off. Also you can’t forget to reattach your brakes.