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Add $2 When You Change A Tire
And do it right

By: James R. Davis

This weekend Cash and I did an 800 mile trip to attend a State rally for the G.W.T.A. held in a tiny town in central Texas called Goldthwaite. Other than having to ride through heavy winds and rain for about 100 miles on the return leg of the trip the weather was wonderful. In fact, the trip was terrific in all particulars and would have been perfect had we only spent an additional $2 the last time we had the rear tire on her bike replaced.

We were 40 miles from our destination on Saturday morning when we decided to check the air pressure in our tires. (The tires were cold, we had spent the night in this small town and were just starting out.)

Elaine's tires were a little low so we went three blocks to a gas station for some air. Elaine had the air hose in her right hand and had taken the cap off the valve stem on the rear tire with her left hand, then as she was mating the hose and the stem a funny thing happened - the stem BROKE almost in two! Over the years the rubber had deteriorated and become brittle. A little sideways pressure was all it took.

Now there are no motorcycle shops in the tiny town we were in. In fact, the closest town with a shop in it was 35 miles in the direction we had just come from. But 40 miles ahead there were a couple of hundred friends - and so we decided that was the best course of action to take. We chained her bike to a steel post, unpacked her personal things from her bike and she along with her things became a passenger on my bike for the next 40 miles.

Our friends were fast to offer help. After breakfast (grin) I went out and bought some valve stems. Meanwhile, Elaine had talked one of the attendees into taking her to her bike in his truck with attached trailer, (thinking that she had the keys to unlock the chain - she had one of the two she needed.) So, I chased after them on my bike and we met, you guessed it, at the site where her bike had been chained, 40 miles down the road.

Oh, the guy that took her was a cop. He did not happen to have a set of lock picks with him, but the two of them had managed to get the bike unchained from the post, and up and onto the bed of the trailer, and had tied it down pretty as you please by the time I got there (chain wrapped around the front wheel.) We drove back that 40 miles and at the rally site a vendor installed the stem and inflated her tire for her. Total cost of the incident was $25 plus the cost of the stems I bought.

Now, for some this would have amounted to a dreadful way to start a rally. Elaine and I just laughed and considered it a learning experience. (And, it once again demonstrated the wisdom of traveling in a group.) It had never occurred to either of us to replace the valve stem when we replace a tire. We will do that from now on. And, of course, it could have been so much worse. That stem could have failed while we were traveling at 80 MPH on some stretch of road 40 or 100 miles away from anywhere. There could have been a disaster. Instead, we were inconvenienced for a few hours.

This tip is written to save you both those inconvenience hours and a possible disaster. For an additional $2 when you next change a tire, do it right - replace the valve stem too.

Copyright © 1992 - 2021 by The Master Strategy Group, all rights reserved.

(James R. Davis is a recognized expert witness in the fields of Motorcycle Safety/Dynamics.)

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