Again, Don't Ride with Bald Tires!
This morning, I'm on the way to work. Beautiful morning, by the way, about, I don't know, maybe 68 degrees? I'm heading north on the I-395 HOV ('car pool') lanes to DC, very little traffic on the HOV lanes, which will change next week when school starts again. The Bonnie is singing along about 70-80mph. Nice wide fast right hand sweeper, just before the Pentagon, I'm in the passing lane because, well, I am passing cagers. Then, "Hey, what the . . .?" I see a car stopped in my lane with hazard lights blinking. I am far back enough that I don't have to quick stop, and as I pull around to the right I notice a big cruiser down in front of the car and the dude is trying to get up. I pull back over in front of his bike to the left shoulder (barely narrow enough for my bike) jump off and help the poor guy up. Behind his bike I see a 10 foot long gouge in the pavement. Yikes.
So I help the guy up, he's a bit shocked, but not hurt, really. His dress slacks (first mistake) are torn, his dress shoe (second mistake) is torn up too. A bit of rash on his lower leg, but not really too bad. I say, "Are you alright? Did that car clip you?" He says, "No, my front tire went flat, I lost control then went down" (he's lucky that car wasn't tailgating him. squish city otherwise). Big Heavy Yamaha Cruiser, Crash Bars, Saddle bags, etc. Not any real damage to the bike.
But I looked at the tire, and I said to myself, "Self, that looks like a racing slick!" I mean there was hardly any tread left, and what was left was on the right side of the tire. The guys looks too and says, "I didn't realize my tire was so bald!" (very very obvious biggest mistake).
So we pushed the beast to the shoulder, and I try to settle the guy down. The car blocking leaves the scene, which I didn't like because there really wasn't much room there. I keep my helmet on my head. I look at the tire, don't see any holes or anything. He says, "I don't know what to do. What do you do when you have a flat tire on a bike." I say, "Well, you get it fixed." So I notice the guy has a heated jacket liner or vest because I see the Gerbings controller hanging out of his jacket (I'm thinking, "What? It's beautiful out, why heated gear?"). And I say, "I have an air pump, let's see if we can't air it up a bit and get a better look. We can plug it in to that lead right there...." (I'm hoping he has a big fuse on that lead, air pumps draw amps, man).
I get the pump (oh, I carry the pump a lot. if I don't carry it, I'll get a flat. Murphy hates me), plug it in, start to air up the tire, but nothing. Now, I don't really want to do this, we are not in a safe place. I'm hoping a cop comes soon. But no air going into the tire. It appeared to me that the bead was broken. Dude is going to have to get towed....he should get towed, he was too shaken to ride, he was talking about pushing the bike to the next exit! No way where we were.
Cop comes up behind, lights flashing, thank goodness. Cop offers to call flatbed, I tell the guy about a bike shop fairly close. He shakes my hand, thanks me, and I am back on the road, wondering why on earth was this dude riding on that bald tire. I'm glad he wasn't really hurt, it could have been way ugly.
"The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my employer's position or opinion