Friday, June 7, 2013

Bagalur - A bumpy ride

Well.... Long time since I shared anything about my rides... Have plenty of rides and experiences to write about, but the laziness... Slowly let me (try to) overcome..

To start with, there is one ride which I want to remember. That ride happened on March 24, 2013. It changed my views on how to manage failure of bike components while I am on the ride. My actions previously would be, just abandon the ride, stay at the same place and take rest if possible, look for some vehicle after rest, pay the vehicle with a lump amount and reach back. Oh yeah, I nearly forgot - Afterwards, cry about the failure forever.

It was supposed to be a SMBR ride to Bagalur, with Gokul. My first ride after a wrist injury in Spirited 600km brevet. We started late by 0800 hrs from Silkboard, slowly made our way to Sarjapur.. There was a section of road in Sarjapur where it was unpaved, full of small stones. Right after we crossed that and got into good road, I felt my front tyre bumping. Before I could react, PPPAAATTTT.. A big burst.  Yeah, my front tyre.

Let me go through the pictures parallelly (all pictures : credits to Gokul)...
Burst opened front tyre (which was back tyre till the ride before) - As the tyre got old (7000 + kms), it failed. I got frequent flats at same spot on the tyre, starting from the recce ride for spirited 600. Even at brevet, I got a flat, which I managed with usual technique - 10 rupee note boot. After brevet also, there were two.
As usual, I said to Gokul to abandon the ride, hire a vehicle and reach back. But with whom I was riding? The booting specialist (read some of his booting experiences, here and here).
"You have to reach home early or something?", Gokul asked.
"No, not at all", I said.
"Well, I too can reach home late. So, why can't we try something to fix? It may hold or not, but why not give a shot", he asked.
My mind went into usual calculations, 'I am not riding a timed event where my every second counts. I have three spare tubes. Even if all three fails and before the last failure if I reach back, expense will be just 297 bucks, instead of paying an auto or mini auto, more bucks for 20 kms....'
"Yeah, we will, but I doubt whether it will hold as the tear is more than 2 inch length", I said.
"I am confident it will hold, but let us first do the needed", he said.
With partial confidence, I nodded.
We rested for 20 minutes eating some biscuits and snacks. 
Then, Gokul went to collect some materials for booting.
These are the items he got - some different sized thick threads, a torn uniform skirt of a child, thrown as garbage. (Not the shoes, ofcourse, they hold the legs of  the rider whose tyre burst opened). 
The cloth piece was too hard to tear. So, Gokul bought a blade, which is also there in above picture. 2 bucks - that's all we spent.
We cut the cloth into a rectangular piece like this:-

Then, we removed the burst tube, put a new tube, and put this cloth piece between tube and tyre (booted), like this:-

The cloth can hold the tube without air. But since the tear wass too big, after inflation, the tube could easily push the cloth and come out. So, Gokul used the thread to tie the tear's edges not to open up, like this :-

Here was where the advantage of having disc brakes showed up. Had them been v - brakes, we couldn't use the thread, else, we should disable the brakes and ride with back brakes only. With disc brakes, we could use anything, theoretically till it touches the fork on sides or above, practically till we feel it too bumpy to ride.

Now, had I ridden just like this, the thread might wear over time (distance, actually..). Gokul had an idea for that too. He took the burst tube and tied it like this:-

Then we inflated the tube till 40 psi, as high pressure might force it to burst again, and low pressure might offer drag :-
Parallax error???
Gokul's confidence really worked. It holded.
Gokul with the booted tyre
He then asked me to testride it. After I did and made sure I could manage those bumps, we got up, packed everything and started.
"So, we are riding back to home comfortably now, thanks to you, I need not spend much and get into all the troubles of transportation", I said.
"You are welcome, but a small correction, we are not returning back now. We are going to continue with our plan to ride to Bagalur. Well, we won't get breakfast or finish ride before 2 PM to qualify for SMBR ride, but who cares", Gokul said.
I was shocked, already doubting whether it would hold for 20 km journey back home.
"We will continue and if any problems, we will think further. But my gut feeling says it will hold", he added.
I thought he was becoming overconfident, but who was I to doubt the booting guru.
With a partial confidence, we continued, in this road,

this road,

and this road

These roads are not the benchmarks where it should have been tested, but were worst enough to hold my fear up.
Trust me, I had ridden approximately 55 kms further in that ride (including a section in ORR near silkboard where I sped more than 35 kmph) with the booted tyre, then I commuted two days to office, and took it to bots to replace tyre. Nowhere it gave me a problem. Ofcourse it was bumpy all the way, jerking for every rotation, but I could live with it for those approx. 70 kms..
That one day changed my views a lot. I had 3 wasted tubes in my failed Challakere 400km brevet. I could have used one of them as a substitute of rimtape. All I had to manage were 150 kms in a nice highway, tat too in night. So, heat and therefore softening of rimtape (tube) could never have happened. I simply gave up instead. Well, a new lesson learnt, thanks to you Gokul...


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