For cyclists, winter is a time for reminiscing and recovery from the previous season.  It is also a time for setting new goals and preparation for the upcoming season.

For me, the past season is reminded by my “bucket of flat tubes”.   That 5-gallon bucket filled with all the bike tubes that went flat on rides during the previous year ( it would be preferable if reminded by a “flat stomach” – oh, well ).  It’s now the time of year when I dig out the bucket and begin the work of tube triage and surgery.  Usually during a Jazz basketball game I will set down with my bottle of rubber cement, huge supply of patches, bike pump, clamps and then go to work.  The 5-gallon bucket also provides a handy dunk tank for conducting “flat forensics”.  This procedure is well-known to most cyclists but I might provide a tutorial at a future date anyway.  Many people new to cycling seem most frustrated by the occurrence of a flat.  I respond by asking them to relate differently to a flat tire.  “Relate to a flat as you would about filling the gas tank of your car”.  A flat is actually less expensive, less frequent, and should take about the same amount of time to replace as filling up your SUV. On the down-side, flats are mostly random.  For me, flats have become a Zen-like activity and I could write an entire chapter on it — but not now.

Fig 1 "a bucket of tubes"... or rather "memories of the previous season".

Instead I am going to concentrate on one often overlooked aspect of fixing a flat.  The act of getting the now unraveled tube back into your tiny seat bag.  Because I fix several tubes in an assembly line manner I am keen on any device that helps me be more efficient.  To that end, I now introduce the Tube Tek Tool or TTTool.

Forgive the poor photography.  Images were taken with an old cell-phone, hand-held, with inadequate lighting. The hand-model was also the photographer.  That’s never a good thing!  This How-To should really be a video but that’s even more difficult when you are the hand-model.

Tube Tek Tool

Tube Tek Tool - top view

66cm road bike with shrink-wrapped tube inserted into tiny seat pack

OK, so basically the TTTool is just a flat stick — “Well of course, if you’re going to do it that way”.

At this point you might also be asking, “What’s that toy animal doing on this guy’s seat pack?”

Answer: I’ve discovered that people passing you from behind will judge your cycling ability less harshly when you have a stuffed moose coming out of your shorts.  Streamers attached to your handlebars would probably work the same but they present more of a hazard.

Coming in a future post — “a nifty patch purse”

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