LJWorld.com weblogs Rolling along

Screw this, nail that


Spend enough time entrusting your life to a couple of thin strips of rubber and latex, and you’re bound to keep your eyes peeled for pricks.

Normally, the greatest threat to my bike tires is glass, and in certain parts of the city on certain days, there’s plenty to dodge, hop and, occasionally, roll through with fingers crossed. It doesn’t take long to learn what kinds of glass pose the biggest threats.

Potholes can eat tires, too, and occasionally a thorn or stick can cause a dreaded puncture.

But lately — and, again, I’m at kind of a loss to explain it — I’ve noticed our fair city streets are positively strewn with … fasteners. Our roads are screwy with screws, assailed by nails.

Maybe it’s building season.

Just the other day, during routine rides to school with my son and, later, to work and back, I counted a dozen rubber-threatening fasteners directly in my path: a bunch of ordinary nails, a couple of galvanized roofing nails, a massive lag bolt and a wicked-looking three-inch wood screw.

Awhile back, I even noticed a run of nail-gun ammo. I’m sure they fell out of the back of a pickup or bounced out of a trailer, but I found it odd to happen upon clips of nail-gun nails in distinctly different parts of the city about the same time: Old West Lawrence, the west side, downtown and by the hospital.

Must have been the work of a serial nailer.

While there are many threats to rubber’s integrity — I once rolled, unscathed, through a scattered box of razor blades — I consider fasteners the most dangerous. Many tend to blend into the road, and they lie in wait.

Rolling over one tends to make it stand at attention, and — pffffffftttttt, hisssssssss — it’s time to repair a tube.

I stop when I can to clear the road, but it’s sometimes not practical.

So I roll on, ever vigilant, always on the lookout for my next screw.


RoeDapple 7 years, 7 months ago

"Spend enough time entrusting your life to a couple of thin strips of rubber and latex, and you’re bound to keep your eyes peeled for pricks."

I know what you mean Andrew. They walk, they ride, and they drive. Surprisingly they aren't gender specific. I've seen them sipping coffee, talking on cell phones and even reading the paper, oblivious to the traffic around them. And not necessarily just when I ride my bike. I see them when I'm walking, riding and driving. I've even been known to be a bit of a prick myself.

Say, I wonder if they make those low slung magnets like are used on docks and airports for picking up metal objects in a size to fit bikes? It would only need to be about four inches wide and could be attached to the front forks. Might look a little odd, but you and I both know bikers have put stranger things on their ride . . .

Rustycleats 7 years, 7 months ago

To solve this problem, why don’t have a series of magnetic installed on the underneath side of all the sanitation trucks than as they run their routes all the metal objects are picked up from the streets.

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