When the nearest bicycle shop is hundreds, even thousands of miles away, we have to be prepared to fix most problems. I carry up to a kilo of tools and spare parts to fix most of the mechanical failures we might encounter after travel on bad roads, and dirt tracks.
Somewhere below 5,000 feet, you notice the saguaros are gone, replaced by oak grasslands and twenty foot agaves in bloom. Another thousand feet and you enter Bear Canyon and feel the cool from Arizona sycamores and alligator junipers. Further up the canyon, you notice the piney vanilla scent of huge ponderosas, their green crowns spiking the now intense blue sky. Breathe deep. Stand on the pedals. Stretch your back and shoulders. Push a little. Feel the burn, the joy of your body, working as it should. A canyon wren’s liquid descending song cheers you on.
In the third world/developing world, your flat might just occur in an exposed location, putting you in potential danger, or at the least surrounded by a vociferous curious crowd throwing questions at you in a language you don’t understand. A little pantomime and wide a wide smile usually takes care of this, but it plays hell with the concentration. You don’t want flats.