Monday, July 16, 2018

Failure Under Pressure

Because the Quad-B’s tires need air on a regular basis, and often at the most inopportune times, this little barrel-pump is part of her permanent adornment, but let’s be honest here, I don't care if they say this pump will go up to 100 pounds, getting the 40 pounds of pressure I need out of that little pump is a bitch.

Sorry, I thought about it and there’s no other word for it. Getting up to 20 pounds is easy, 30 pounds is a workout with diminishing returns, and 40 pounds is just a bitch!

Out on the trail I have no choice. Back at base-camp I had two choices, the diminutive barrel pump and aching arms or the heavy-duty 12V compressor tucked under the bed in The Van.

This left me with a decision every time the Quad-B’s tires needed a little topping up before heading out for the day. Either face a bitch of a job with the barrel pump or drag the big 12V compressor out, pop the hood, hook the compressor up to the battery, start The Van, and spend all of a few seconds squirting air into the tires before reversing the whole process again.

Since I’m not a fan of no-win decisions, I eventually got me one of these.

Wow! So easy and fast.

Until the second time I used it that is.

It’s supposed to look like that first picture, but after the second time I used it it looked like this.

The rubber on the foot-stompy thing went flying while the foot-stompy thing itself went left instead of straight. Not a good thing in either ballroom dancing nor foot-pumping.

The arms folded up and fell over like Bubba after his second case of beer on a hot afternoon.

And the hollow pin snapped at the riveted end like my cousin’s arm the time we – well, never mind about that –

Now to be fair, the first time I used the pump, after letting some air out of one of the Quad-B’s tires for the express purpose of testing the thing out, I was on the level concrete pad The Van is parked on at the house. The second time was on the gravel drive of a campsite which was a little less level and stable.

But still!

Second time out of the box and this is what I get?!

Although at less than $10 I shouldn’t have been too surprised.

Fortunately, in this day and age even old farts like me can recall electronic versions of their Walmart receipts with the app on their phone. After slapping the mangled pump on the counter I pulled up my receipt, and flashed it at the person manning the service desk. Satisfied I, and my story of woe, were legit she told me to just go back to the bike department and pick up a replacement.

Oh no they don't!

True, I’ve been fooled twice (at least twice) many times before, but not this time. Instead I asked for credit and picked up this beefier version instead. It cost twice as much (Still less than $20 though) but that was probably necessary to cover the increase in steel used to build it.

This new pump had several workouts on both my Pedernales Falls and Caprock Canyon trips (Those goatheads are hell on tires. Let’s hope those tire-liners I put on cut down on the punctures!) and so far so good.

This is why I wanted a foot-pump rather than a more traditional pogo-stick pump.

The foot-pump tucks right into this rear-door-pocket whereas the pogo-pump - - not so much.


  1. I still have good results with the basic bicycle floor pump ... which I am assuming is what you call the "pogo-pump"

  2. Yep, pogo, or floor, pumps are a reliable old standby, they just don't fit where I need (OK want) them to in The Van.