Thursday, April 5, 2018

What's Up, Flats?

A rag for wiping grease, a pen for making an X over hole to be patched,
and trusty red toolbox to keep all my tools organized.

I am proud to announce that I set a personal record for getting the most flats in one week - 3, all in the rear tire! (Insert eye rolling.) And so far, the streak continues with number 4 during the second week...

In all seriousness, it's been an unlucky rash of incidents, attributed - I think - to debris strewn bike lanes, paths, and streets. Couple that with wetness and tires retain enough grit to eventually puncture the tube. There's a local contingent of regular commuters who've asked the street department to sweep the streets earlier than the typical mid-April so I suspect I'm not the only one with this unfortunate problem!

The first three flats were fairly easy fixes: I hoist the bike onto our bike stand, then pull out enough tube, without removing the tire, and inflate until I locate the leak. Then it's simple to patch, leave overnight (because I can) and install and re-inflate for the morning commute. I always make sure to inspect the tire for anyting sharp still emebedded in the rubber. After 3 patches, I replace the tube, which of course is more difficult, more so because on this bike I need to slightly spread the rear triangle to fit onto the axle, easier with a partner. However, I can accomplish it myself, aided by groaning and swearing, to get the axle seated into place.

Beer run, stored in the pannier while I clip my purse onto the handlebars. I stopped to redistribute
gear and admire the ocean-like waves on the lake.

And now that I'm fearful of getting another flat, the slightest squishy feeling on these already cushiony Kenda tires makes me wonder if I'll make it home. But lately, it's been good and you bet I'm avoiding the filthy bike lanes, edging into the traffic lane. On top of that, with only a rear rack to carry gear, I'm storing my lock on the handlebars and sometimes my purse, to evenly distribute the weight over both wheels.

I'm looking forward to clean streets and riding the Peugeot beauty very soon!

Have you ever encountered bad luck with flat tires?

15 comments:

  1. Two last year, my first for several years! I now have heavier, more puncture resistant tyres,slightly fatter and made sure that the tubes are rated to not be inflated to their maximum.

    Sometimes I ponder these new fangled tubless tyres filled with gunky sealant...

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    1. I've been pondering green slime sealant (One Speed: Go! blog) or lining my rear tire with Tyvek material like GE mentioned (Endless Velo Love blog).

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    2. The Tyvek actually seems to work pretty well. You might give it a try, Annie.

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  2. You get your cycle paths swept!? Ours just get worse and worse.

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    1. Because our roads are salted and sanded, there'a a lot of dirty buildup that occurs in the gutter/bike lane and it can clog drains. The city likes to sweep only once in the spring but because there are more and more winter cyclists there's been a lot of kickback because we're expected to ride in those littered lanes!

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    2. My local bike path gets swept... when it rains.

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  3. There has been a lot of debris on our roads too. In particular, I've noticed a lot of glass. I did spot the street sweeper out and about a few weeks ago on a dry day, but I don't know how much ground they actually covered because I come across broken glass in bike lanes and on roads pretty frequently.

    That smushy or cushy feeling you describe is so dreaded! I know that feeling... looking back to see if the tire has flatted -- so frustrating. I start feeling like a paranoid person but when you experience so many in a row, it's difficult not to have that thought in the back of your mind at all times.

    I got so tired of dealing with punctures on my commuter/around town bike that the Schwalbe Marathon tires were installed. They work really well in my experience and the only time I've had a flat is when the tires were wearing out (either from mileage or simply from time). I seem to be able to get about 5 years out of the tires before they start cracking, even if the tread still appears quite usable. They are not nearly as cushy as other tires I've had on bikes, but when I'm out at a store or on my way somewhere, the last thing I want to do is deal with a flat.

    I've also had good experiences with the Stop Flats liners in tires that are softer. I know a lot of people try to keep rotational weight down, so they don't want to use liners or heavier tires, but on certain bikes, it just seems like the right thing to do.

    I hope your streak of bad-luck-with-flats is over! I don't wish that on anyone.

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    1. If I'd known I was going to have so many flats before I bought new tires it would have made sense to buy a puncture resistant rear tire, but that's always hindsight. I'll be on the lookout for a piece of tyvek.

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  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. Bri, 6 flats in 2 weeks, how terrible. Glad it hasn't happened since. Sorry, I accidentally deleted your comment - no way to retrieve once I click the wrong button.

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  5. after all those flats you deserve a beer run Annie!

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  6. That was bad luck to have so many flats. I am a great supporter of the Schwalbe Marathon tyres too as I have led a puncture free existence since I started using them (properly inflated).

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  7. The last time that I had a bad run of flat tires was when my old set of Nimbus Armadillo semi-slicks had started to wear away the rear tire. I think I got three or so in a week. That was years ago, and now I roll around on Compass Rat Trap Pass in the summer. I've had one pinch flat with the rear tire when I rolled into a much-deeper-than-I-thought puddle, and one just last week that I can't readily explain. It might've had something to do with crashing on the ride in to the office, when the damned left pedal fell off the spindle, while I was standing up to pedal (uphill, and in traffic, too). Other than those two times, which I hope to easily avoid in the future, I've been very happy with the Compass tires.

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  8. Schwalbe marathon plus are the tyres to have. The one puncture I've had was due to a large shard of glass that had been in the tyre for so long that it had worn smooth but a bump on a stone finally drove it through the Kevlar.

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