You're having a great ride, enjoying the scenery and the road ribboning off in front of you. Or, even worse better, you're commuting.
And you get a flat. If you're like me, you probably carry CO2 and a tube. And you're ok, usually. But CO2, as fast as it is, is a one-shot deal. It's tough to moderate the pressure and once it's gone, it's gone.
If you're smarter than me, you carry pump as well - either a "mini" pump or a frame pump, no matter. But something in addition to (or instead of) CO2.
So here's today's Tuesday Tip: Get a pump.
I recently started carrying a pump on all my non-race rides. And not a moment too soon either. It took me a while to decide which pump to get. Should I get something that fits into my jersey pocket (very pro) but is near impossible to use at very high pressures? Should I get a large frame pump, and risk breaking off the valve stem with all that leverage?
Once I saw the Topeak Road Morph frame pump, it was a no-brainer.
This pic (courtesy Topeak) illustrates everything I like about this pump. It has a T-handle for pumping at high pressures, a foot rest for keeping the pump stable, a flexible hose for protecting your valve stem, and even a pressure gauge so you know when to stop. The gauge is an especially nice touch since you'll enjoy using this pump so much, it'd be easy to OVER pump.
It's basically everything your floor pump is, shrunk to a convenient size for carrying with you. Here it is on my bike:
As you can see, it's fairly unobtrusive and attaches using two retractable zip ties. These zip ties have little levers that allow you to remove them easily, which is perfect for taking the pump off quickly when you want to get your bike race-ready. I've heard that there may be a mount that would allow you to attach the pump alongside your waterbottle cage, but I think that would require you to either a) leave the mount on while racing, or b) remove/replace your cage before and after every race. While alongside-the-bottle looks a little better, you can't beat the convenience of just mounting it on the top tube as suggested. The mount even comes with two small rubber squares to protect your frame's finish. So once you remove it, it's as if it was never there. And it's very secure, having a Velcro "belt" in addition to the two clips.
The pump works even better than it looks. As I mentioned, I used it for the first time in the field during a commute last week and it performed just like my floor pump at home - just in a smaller package. The T-handle really lets you push down for high pressure and the foot rest keeps the pump from jumping out from under you. Best of all, the rubber hose absorbs all the movement between the pump and your valve stem. No more broken stems! I haven't done a side-by-side comparison of gauges, but I've heard the in-line gauge on the RoadMorph is pretty accurate. So no more blown tubes.
Other than a tube (natch), just be sure you're also carrying some sort of boot (dollar bill, GU wrapper) in case you slice your tire instead of just puncturing it. The RoadMorph is good, but it won't be able to help you then.
While I'm very pleased with this pump so far and recommend it, I have read on various bike forums that some folks have had quality control issues. So if you have a Road Morph, be sure to weigh in with a comment about your own experience.
In the meantime, be sure to get and carry some sort of pump with you - especially on your long rides. It may mean the difference between continuing your ride, or facing the indignity of bumming a ride home.