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Wanna Bet?

June 5, 2011

On Friday afternoon I stopped at Cain Park Bicycles to see how they are coming along on the bike they are building for my Alaska trip. I was chatting with Gary, the owner, and Nick, the store manager. Gary suggested changing a tire to make sure I could do it. After all, there won’t be anyone around to help me in Alaska. Nick handed me a rim, tire, inner tube and tools. I looked at the tools and said: “I don’t need those.” Nick explained this was a folding tire, had a VERY stiff bead, and that I would need the tools.

“Nick, I don’t need the tools.”

“Doug, I’ve been doing this for years. It’s how I make my living. You’ll need the tools.”

“Wanna bet?”

“Sure, I’ll bet you a six-pack. In fact, I won’t even bet you; I don’t want to steal your money. I’ll give you a six-pack if you can do it without tools.”

“You’re on!” I started mounting the tire.  I got the first bead on the rim and started packing the inner tube. A couple of customers had witnessed the exchange and came over to watch. One called out to Nick: “He’s got it half way on, I think he’s gonna do it!”

Nick confidently shook his head: “The hard part is coming up!”

I kept working the bead onto the rim, my thumbs on either side of the unmounted portion of the bead; working my thumbs toward each other. The bead popped over the rim. The customers started laughing and clapping. “You owe him a six-pack!”

I handed the wheel to Nick, who exclaimed “I’ve never seen anyone do that before!”

“Nick”, I said, “I’m an old man. I’ve been doing that for years.  My father taught me.  Well, really he told me I should learn to mount the tire without tools, so that I wouldn’t pinch the tube.  I had to figure out how to do it myself; but close enough.”

Nick’s going to give me the six-pack when I get back from Alaska.  I’ll enjoy it.


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  1. Tom Culver permalink


    You give new meaning to the word ‘contrarian’!


  2. It’s a true story. It’s got to be local beer, though, Doug. None of this imported stuff. Thirsty Dog, Inigo Imp, or Great Lakes.

    When do you plan to get back into Cleveland? I want to be sure it’s cold and ready.

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