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This morning the back tire on the Cargobike was flat.

G didn’t wish us success in fixing the flat. At two-and-a-bit years old, she demonstrated a new level of sophistication this morning: "Bike is broken. We have to take the bus. Yes. Need to go to the bus stop!" It wasn’t just the fact that she verbalized the thoughts coherently that struck me. She was insisting, trying to convince us to abandon the repair effort and head for the bus stop, through an argument she thought might be more convincing than "I want to go on the bus!" I’d love to take her on the bus more often, just because she enjoys it. The problem is that it takes two buses plus two significant walks to get to the nursery, and then another walk and another bus to get to work. Repeat, in reverse, to get home. And then fix the bike.

I couldn’t find a hole so I stuck a patch on a dodgy-looking spot on the tube for good luck, even though I don’t think that was leaking, and stuffed the tube back in. Pre-posting edit: Still seems fine a few hours later.

I suspect the seal on the valve. There’s been a very slow leak for a long time and this is the second time I’ve failed to find a hole in the tube. The plan is to ask Hugh to replace the tubes and tires as it’s been on the order of 2500 miles on these ones anyway, and the frequency of flats has gone up. We’d like to swap to Schrader valves but I’m not sure if that’s possible, or a good idea with respect to the hole in the rim. The Cargobike’s huge low-pressure rear tire is, to me, the antithesis of a racing tire, and I just don’t know (yet) why Schrader isn’t standard there. Schraders have been dead reliable for us on our other bikes (we don’t really do above 85psi in this family at the moment).

I suspect Presta valves of a sort of sentience: if you don’t like them, they won’t like you. To compound our particular problem, we had a spiffy aluminum Lezyne pump with a thread-on flexible hose, which was a bad combination with fixing flats on the Presta valve in situ. The hose has to bend, and you have to thread it onto something that itself is held in with a nut threaded onto the valve body — a recipe for letting the air all out as you (I) try to remove the hose after pumping. Gorgeous mini pump. Just somehow akin to a Presta valve in that I can’t make it practical despite knowing others love it. I recently bought a Topeak Road Morph, which has a nice flip-lock mechanism on the head, can be held against the ground by your foot, and comes set up for Presta by default, but which, being meant for road bikes, doesn’t seem to pack a whole lot of air into each stroke. If it would fit next to G’s seat in the box, I’d have the Topeak Joe Blow track pump with me all the time.

Here’s where I stop, read properly, rewrite, add photos, etc. Not. I think I’ll post it like this.