Two weeks ago, I experienced a flat tire on my 6am bicycle ride.  I was three miles from home.  Knowing Mrs. tVM would be on her morning walk, I walked the bike home, a good contemplative experience.  The culprit was an unusually large nail that I removed from the tire.  I replaced the tube and was back in business the following day.

This week, I had four – count them, four – flat tires in two days.  I replaced the tube on the first and used up my patch kit on the final three.  You would think after 11 years of serious bicycling and many flat tires that I would be conscious and attentive of the cardinal rule:  if you do not identify the source of the flat, it is certain to happen again.

After demonstrating that truth three times this week, I would not allow it to happen a fourth time.  After the first three incidents, I cursorily inspected the tire, but could not find anything, certainly nothing as obvious as the nail that interrupted my ride  earlier his month.  After the fourth flat, I meticulously scoured the inside and outside of the tire searching for what must still be in it to cause the multiple flats.  Finally, I felt the tiniest of pinpricks on the inside of the tire.  I searched the outside of the tire and was able to extract the small tip of a thorn.

With the thorn removed, I reassembled the tire with a patched tube.  The ten-mile test drive was uneventful and after a pair of challenging days, I returned from a 17.5 mile uneventful ride this morning still on the saddle.  The tire is holding air as it is supposed to.

If you do not identify the source of the flat, it is certain to happen again.

I thought about that over the 80-minute ride this morning, and by the time I pulled into my driveway, I concluded that truism is as applicable to life as it is to flat tires and bicycle riding…

If you encounter a difficult situation and you do not identify its source, you are certain not to resolve it.  It will continue to plague you over and over.

As always, the choice is yours.

  • You can ignore it.
  • You can give it a cursory effort, or
  • You can roll up your sleeves, get down and dirty, find AND eliminate the source of the situation.

Some situations are easy to resolve.  Their cause is like that nail sticking in the tire, difficult to overlook.  The cause of other situations is not as obvious – like the tiny tip of the thorn – and requires commitment and effort on your part to discover the solution.

The choice is yours.

Mitakuye Oyasin

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