Today was my final day at work as I embark on my first trip to Belgium in 2 years. I’ll have to return to work in a week but for today, I’m free of emails and Skype and phone calls for a bit. It’s going to be a nice trip. Right now, I’m in Barre, VT. When I go on a trip like this, it’s always smart to load up on beer at my favorite brewery. I left work at 3PM and 35 miles into an 80 mile journey, my motorcycle’s TPMS light comes on. It’s been very finicky lately. It comes on a lot more than you’d think but usually it’s just a yellow light. This time, it was full on red. I pull over, the front tire does indeed feel softer than usual. It is a super hard radial for off-road so they don’t give like a standard tire. I hop back on the bike deeming it drivable and the TPMS light goes dark.

I stopped at the next exit anyway. No need to push my luck with a sensor that’s not reliable. BMW says for $250 per tire, they can replace my TPMS batteries that supposedly just die every 5 years and since this is an ’09, it’s probably just time. Great. Of course the Germans would engineer something so insane where instead of a tiny Li-Ion battery inside of your wheel, they have a sensor in the wheel and another on the brake housing that talk to each other and those two sensors communicate tire speed. If one tire is spinning more than the other, they throw a code and estimate how low the pressure is. Well, the wheel communicates using a battery pack to transmit this wireless signal. The battery is not replaceable. You have to do the entire system per wheel. crock of shit if you ask me.

I pull off at the next exit, spend a buck accessing the air compressor and the front tire reads 15 PSI (ideally 35). I fill it up and the machine can’t reach the set PSI. Sigh. I try again half an hour later after the tow truck has been called and it reads 6 PSI. If you look at the tire, it looks completely normal. It’s not though. It’s completely flat.

I’m a member of BMW MOA. I pay $79 each year for roadside assistance. They’ll tow me up to 100 miles to wherever I want. I’m 35 miles from the motorcycle shop I trust so that’s perfect. I am in the highest tier for MOA so I also get tire protection. This $150-$200 tire, if I need to replace it will be free including the service + the tow. Thank goodness. The membership has already paid for itself four times over. Last year, I only used it once for running out of gas. Since I added the 2 gallon fuel tank, I haven’t ran out of gas accidentally since then. 

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It’s 5:15PM and instead of leaving Hill Farmstead and heading home to pack for the trip, I’m stuck in Vermont waiting on this tow truck. Today’s timing isn’t all that impacted. I’ll get home around the same time I would have had I went to the brewery. Except, Heather and I will have to wake up tomorrow much earlier to get to Hill Farmstead before we make it to Montreal. 

Sigh.

Nothing could have prepared me for a flat-tire and hey, it could have been worse but it’s never fun. You are literally stuck in that one place and today, I’m thankful I am a BMW MOA member. $150 for a tow, $150 for a tire, $50 for service just because I wanted to go up and grab some beer.

The bike does look beautiful just sitting there hanging out. I wish it was red but it was a great deal. Only 3,000 miles on these tires and now I have to replace one of them. That probably puts me out of sync for tire changes now.

Looking forward to leaving and heading to Belgium tomorrow. I haven’t seen you guys in 2 years. Will have IPAs a full day fresher for our tasting.