Sometimes the Cosmos Just Likes to Mess with Us — G4Free Mini Bike 130 PSI Bike Pump with Hidden Flexible Hose — a Review — and a Related Post-Concussion Syndrome and TBI Story

© 2015 Peter Free


16 June 2015



Good little pump


The G4Free® Mini Bike 130 PSI Bike Pump — “with hidden flexible hose” — works surprisingly well, even on mountain bike tires, provided that you are willing to do the work that such an obviously low volume pump requires.


The G4Free is the best mini pump that I have used. I filled a 27.5/650b 2.10 inch tire six times in a relatively short period of time.



Pump fits in Jandd Mountain Wedge Expandable under seat bags


Although the G4Free pump comes with a frame mount, it works in an offset fashion. See Luigi Facotti’s review at Amazon.


I also doubt that the otherwise reasonably designed mount is effective enough to cope with the thumps of mountain biking.





Be aware that you may have to oil the pump nozzle threads, as well as those on removable Presta valve cores, to prevent the pump from removing the core and deflating the tire.


As I discovered after a flat a few days ago, the coefficient of friction between (a) pump and core exceeds that between (b) core and valve stem.


Penetrating oil fixed this problem for me. But because I do not know how long the oiled surfaces will stay slick, I recommend using only non-removable Presta valves with this pump.



My pump test took the form of the Cosmos light heartedly messing with me


Some days, you just have to suck Someone’s sense of humor up.


In this instance, I had tested the G4Free pump on my Cannondale CAAD 10 road bike. It worked fine. And I did not register that the Cannondale tubes had non-removable Presta valve cores.


Thus, my real life test of the G4Free pump was inadvertent. I flatted the rear tire on my hardtail on German logging roads, about a 3 to 4 hour walk from home. Ordinarily, not a big deal. Slap a new tube in, pump it up, and off you go.


Not this time.


First, the Kenda tire emphatically did not want to come off the rim. Apparently Orbea, the manufacturer of my MX10 hardtail, had gotten confused and put a downhill tire fit onto a cross country frame. It took me 20 minutes to get the Kenda off and another 12 to fit it back on with the new tube.


The woods endured some mild cursing.


Then, every time I pumped the tire up, the G4Free pump would remove the valve core as I unscrewed the pump. Unlike the CAAD 10 tubes, these Continental mountain tubes had removable Presta cores. I had not previously tested the pump with them.


The removed valve core (air whooshing) inevitability happened 6 times, no matter how lightly I screwed the pump to the tube’s Presta stem.


I even tried to leave the pump attached to the valve stem to avoid the core removal problem. I strapped the pump inside the spokes, using the holed tube to weave it in. But, when I started riding, the holed tube’s stem came out and started clanking.


After fixing that irritation, the whole pump fell out of its tube-and-spoke prison and made a racket that put the stem’s fairy dancing clatter into more favorable perspective.



Well, Feeble Pete, what now?


The cosmic humor part of this experience comes from my contributing decrepitude:



Arthritis limits the range and duration of my physical activity. When the inflammation begins in earnest, even the ability to walk “runs” out.


Throw in the mild traumatic brain injury that accompanied meeting a concrete wall a few months ago — in an incident that highlighted way too many previous concussions — my being stranded in the woods looked like an increasingly likely possibility.


The TBI most aggressively affects me in two ways. First, incapacitating fatigue mimics a battery going dead. (Julie Norris, a triathlete, explains how this feels here.)


Second, my ability to concentrate hits a wall, and my brain frazzles. This condition mimics the sensation that one gets from over-stimulated skin nerve endings. The brain raspy condition — and the sledge hammer sense of Void that comes with it — tempts gun to the head scenarios to stomp through my mind.


As a result, under normal circumstances, I time my activities to allow rest breaks that stall the onset of the empty battery state.


It really is ultimately all about range. And mine seemed to have run out with the Cosmos’ humorously timed valve core removal issue.



The woods are lookin’ at’cha


As the interminable pumping and core removal process wore on, I noticed that I was paying no attention at all to what was going on around me. For an ex-cop, that is unusual.


A horde of hungry Hoozoos could have wombled up on me, and I would not have noticed a thing until one of them bit my head off.


I realized that the brain-bonked state had already begun. I had maybe 90 minutes left before I would be curling myself up in dead leaves and pine needles, simply because I was literally incapable of doing anything else.



Walk 4 hours or ride the flat?


With my TBI battery about to go dead, the answer to this question was (even for me) a no brainer. I rode the flat.



Here’s the best part of the cosmic humor


The excessively tight rear tire stayed on the rim. Even over skittery gravel, bigger rocks, corrugations and ruts.


After walking a few of the steeper hills, I told myself “heck with it” and rode them, in spite of the rear wheel’s much diminished grip. Downhills and turns were not as dicey as they might have been, had I been riding a looser tire.



What had been a pain in the butt became a kindly gift


There is a Buddhist story about that somewhere.


Indeed, the next day, I found that the flatted ride home had stretched the tire so much that now it is as easy to put and take off on as it should have been in the first place.



The moral? — Test your equipment under conceivable scenarios first, and maintain your sense of humor


The Cosmos is always going to get us. Sometimes it does it with humor even we can see.