Scary for me to think, but this story is probably from ~12 years ago. I worked as shop hand at a bike shop in Redmond, WA. In the shop, we had an ace mechanic named Val – this guy could fix anything. His handlebar mustache made him somehow seem even wiser. Val continues to dazzle folks with his wrenching skills – and he shares his experiences here from time to time with his comments.
Anyway, the store assistant manager was a bit of a blow-hard, and had a serious case of short-man’s disease. He was headed out on a biking vacation with his old riding buddies in California. He was talking a big game about how he’d upgraded to Cat3 and he was going to be making his buddies suffer with his new-found fitness. Of course, being the manager he used his position and had Val pack the bike for him.
Well, Val had proven time and again that he is, if nothing else, a clever man. Val dutifully packed the bike in the shop-owned bike box, but put special attention to packing the wheels. He unscrewed the air chamber of the shop Silca floor pump, and filled it…with water. He then carefully pumped the tubes full with the H20. The best part – Val didn’t tell a sole until the Manager had left town.
A week later, the manager gets back from his trip and told us of his little get-away. He said built up his bike, pumped up his tires to 100psi, and was ready to show his friends his new skills. Not so much. He said he was killing himself just to keep up with the group on the flats. When the road went up, he was really getting killed. As I remember him tell it – he didn’t figure out the gag until a couple hours into the first ride. Thanks for the laugh Val – that was impressive. Couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy.