A few years ago, our late dear friend Alice, called me to help her with a car problem. She said she had run over a nail and had a flat tire on her lumbering Lincoln Town Car.
I drove to her house to put a spare on the vehicle and take the damaged tire to Big-O for a quick patch job. When I got there, however, I discovered it was a bit more than a nail. It was a six-inch lag bolt that entered the bottom of the tire and then managed to protrude through the sidewall. The tire was mangled and not repairable.
Through absolutely no fault of her own, my wife will find any errant nail on her route around the city. She has a flat-inducing encounter at least once a year. I can’t think of the last time I had a flat caused by a nail or screw in the road.
I bring up this topic because a recent article in the Albuquerque Journal seemed to be proof that there is a lot of unwanted tire-piercing junk on our roads. I honestly think that over the years, I’ve found enough nails on our roads to build an entire house and enough car parts to build an entire Toyota.
The story in the Journal was about a retired German fire fighter who was fulfilling his dream of crossing the United States on a bicycle. He had started in San Francisco and made it to Silver City, about 1,400 miles, in several weeks. During that time, he had four flats. Upon arriving in New Mexico, he experienced two flats on the same day while traveling from Silver City to Belen.
“I had two flats yesterday, ” said Jorg Richter. “It’s definitely no fun changing the tube on the shoulder.”
He noted that his ride through New Mexico was essentially safe “with the small exception of all that (trash) on the shoulder.”
I hate to think what his experience would have been if he had encountered Alice’s lag bolt when he pedaled across Emory Pass in the Black Range.