Fixing a flat with the spit in your mouth

Years ago, I was riding on a stretch of bike path outside of Hellyer Velodrome. I was returning to my car and was about two miles out when I got a flat. I kind of just stared at the flat in disbelief because I hadn’t brought along a tube, pump, etc. My friend stuck his finger on it to stop the leak, but this didn’t do me any good. Or so I thought.

This old man appeared out of nowhere with his wife, complimented us on our fixies, and offered to have a look at my flat (while doing so, his wife told us of how he was a bike mechanic in his younger days and how he once rode X number of double centuries in one year). He then spit what I can only imagine to be a sticky loogi into his finger tips and proceeded to rub it into my flat until miraculously it stopped leaking air. He said that I might be able to make it back, but that I better ride fast. I jumped on the bike and sure enough, made it back to my car just as the tire began to feel squishy.

I’ve had many flats since then and just about every time I’ve tried spitting a loogi into my fingertips, but have yet to even stop the leak for a second. I can only imagine this old man laughing at the thought of me trying to replicate what he did.

Has anyone else had success with the loogi flat repair technique?

Note: I asked on bikeforums.net as well.

Rebuilding Campy Shifters

I’ve been working on building up the bicycle frame I made for Kate and the plan was to use the old parts from my Bianchi road bike. Of course, I had a working road bike to start, but as I took off each part I ended up with a few things that needed work before reassembling.

My Bianchi came with Campagnolo Mirage shifters. They’ve seen quite a few miles and the distinct clicks between gears slowly became a gummy slide between gears over the years. I was really on the fence with these things. These shifters are on the lower end of Campagnolo’s product offerings, but the nice thing about all of their shifters is that you can rebuild them. If I had some nicer shifters, I probably would have sent them down to Santa Cruz to have The Spokesman Bicycles work on them, but since I like getting my hands dirty I thought I would try rebuilding them.

I own a copy of Zinn & the Art of Road Bike Maintenance and there is a really handy section on rebuilding Campy shifters. I also ran across a post on rebuilding shifters on www.campyonly.com. You’ll want to order new “G” springs from Branford Bike (super nice guys by the way) at the minimum. I also bought a replacement “G” spring carrier since mine had a visible crack in them. If you don’t have a light grease, you’ll probably want to add that to your order from Branford Bike. I happened to order the combo springs and carrier set and there was just enough grease in the packaging to get by.

Rebuilding them was a bit tricky, and I was a little nervous since I once took apart a Campagnolo rear hub only to bring it into the LBS in defeat. Getting the tension correct on the springs is hard to explain in text, but you’ll know you have it when nothing wants to stay in place. Zinn does a really thorough job explaining the process.

After several attempts, I had a nicely working shifter again. And with the money I saved, I’m going to buy some replacement hoods to make them look new again.