Tire punctures are a fact of life for people who ride bicycles regularly. I’ve had my share, but the culprit in my latest flat, last weekend, was so unusual that I thought I’d share it.
I heard the familiar thunk! of road detritus catching an edge on my rear tire as I was pedaling along Route 27 bound for Montauk Point on Sunday. Seconds later, sluggish handling signaled loss of pressure, so I pulled off the road and into the grass to inspect the damage.
Often, frustratinly, there’s no outward sign of a problem — maybe a couple of nicks in the rubber show up — making it necessary to go through the time-consuming process of removing the tire from the wheel, turning it inside out and running fingertips along the interior surface to try to uncover whatever tweezer-worthy sliver may have penetrated the tire and tube.
Not this time. What I discovered, wedged deeply into the outer surface of the rubber (above) resembled a jumbo piece of gravel. But the real surprise emerged when I pulled gently to dislodge it, expecting it to simply pop out and fall away. As it turned out there was way more to this object than met the eye (below).
Tugging this thing out was like watching a crowd of clowns emerge from a tiny car, except that this gag played out in quarter-inches rather than jolly fat men. Still, I had to laugh. The measure of this whopper turned out to be 1 3/8 inches (top photo), almost the depth of a fully inflated tire. But what exactly was it?
Eventually, I changed out the tube and enjoyed my ride to Montauk, having dropped Exhibit A into my jersey pocket. A mini-forensic investigation later in the day (special thanks to the doctor in our house) revealed the object’s origin. It is most likely a section of the femur of a small mammal. Yup, it appears to be a squirrel bone. “Guess that one bit back,” a friend commented dryly on the next day’s ride.
How about you? What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever found lodged in a flat?