The frame pump is a thing of the past. Like a pay phone, the frame pump has been replaced by a smaller, lighter, and more convenient technology. Over the past 10 years, mobile phones have become the standard and so have the lovely, petite, CO2 cartridges. CO2s make the art of a flat change a more rapid and efficient process, getting a ride back on the road in seconds, and without the elbow and shoulder stiffness of yesterday. The frame pump was genius. It passed through many iterations: from a device capable of only low pressures and one’s defense against the occasional country dog to a high-tech device that is smaller, lighter and capable of pressures above 120 psi. But like the pay phone, today the frame pump is only great in a pinch. This weekend, perfect in its execution, the frame pump was my savior. I own a black Silca frame pump with a Campy head. This trusty frame pump has aided me in several jams. At the time of its retirement I had perfected the art of the quick flat change complete with 110 psi. I had even requested a pump peg on my then new, custom steel frame to accommodate my trusty mate.
Traditionally, the frame was the mounting location for the “frame” pump. Seat tube, top tube and even tucked in behind the seat stay. I thought I had seen them all. In 1999, one hot summer morning, a long-time friend rolled up on the ride start presenting a very curious mounting location for his frame pump. In all the years of cyclists coming and going, dropping off their bikes for service, me selling pumps and even riding with frame pumps, I had never seen this frame pump trick. In my mind, I could not define what I was seeing. What is that?
Then, before he could respond, I realized I was seeing something completely new:
I was in awe. The frame pump had been a staple of the cycling world for so long that it seemed a stretch that I would see it carried in a new manner. After I took in the peculiar placement of the pump, I took to figuring out how this placement would not cause any functional issues, first confirming that turning the bars would not interfere with the pump or cables.
This weekend on my ride, I placed the frame pump in the QR/bar position. Oddly, it seems that my streak of flats ended this weekend with the implementation of my trusty frame pump. Is there a rule that when the monetary value of a flat drops so does their frequency? With the frame pump I eliminate the cost of a CO2. Later this week, I plan to replace my wasted CO2s and eventually go back to using them as my primary source for on-the-road flat repairs. But for now, I am enjoying carrying my frame pump and sporting in it as an ode to my old friend who taught me this unique style.