Can you believe it? Another flat!

Can you believe it?

I got another flat. Same bike. Same wheel. Four since March.  More in a month than all season last year on all of the bikes.

The first flat was a puncture.  I ran over a nail that punctured a small hole in the tire and tube.  The second flat was a mystery.  The next 2 as well.  I couldn’t find a nail or other object that may have caused it.  I carefully investigated, checking for an errant spoke or damaged rim.  To no avail.  I couldn’t find a cause.  So, I purchased a new tube, carefully inspected the tire and fastidiously installed them on the wheel with proper inflation.

Since the bike was still on the stand, I decided to clean the chain and adjust the brakes.  While spinning the cranks and changing the gears to make certain the limit screws were properly set, there was a deafening “bang”.  BANG!

It sounded like a gun shot.  A blowout without a load.  I wasn’t on the bike.  I didn’t hit anything.  BANG!  How did this happen?  In over 30 years, I have never had this happen. What happened?  The tire was properly inflated and yet a hole was blown through the wall of the tire.  BANG.  Has that been the problem all the while?  A worn tire wall.

There are several causes for a flat tire.  Faulty valves.  Indiscernible slow leaks.  Punctures.  Pinch cuts when a tube is pinched when a hard object – curbs, stones, edges of holes – is hit.  And, blowouts!  The fact that I experienced several on the same wheel in the same month is a coincidence.  Or, is it?  Was each flat the result of the worn tire?

I have since replaced both tires and tubes and, today, went for my first 30 km ride without incident.  Not a single flat.  This is the first time in a month I have ridden this bike without a flat.

My last thought.  Regularly check for worn or damaged tires.  And always carry tire irons, replacement tire and pump.

14 thoughts on “Can you believe it? Another flat!

  1. If that’s a picture of your rubber above, yes it was time to change the tires.

    I get a couple thousand miles out of my tires and then I chuck them. Glad you’re back to rolling!

    • No that is not my tire. The pictures were included tongue-in-cheek. They would have been replaced long before. But that is what was interesting. I inspect my tires regularly. Weekly. And, there was no visible wear. They had been on for several years with relatively low mileage. I use the bike as a commuter mostly. They were inexpensive “City Slickers” from Toiga. I have replaced them with a more substantial “Slick” from Ritchey.

      • OK, got it. They could have hardened over time and that is why you started to get flats. That, and the fact they were “inexpensive” is probably where the problem is.

        Again, glad you’re back on the road…less prone to flats!

  2. Pingback: I fell off my bike! | PedalWORKS

  3. Some people don’t like them, but I swear by good folding kevlar (or similar tyres). Always used them xc mtb’ing and I only had one major problem (a flint sliced through the front tyre like a razor, had a spare tube and emery cloth in my kit, used a piece of emery cloth inside the tyre to stop the inner tube pushing through and limped home). I currently use folding Continental GP 4 Season 700c x 25mm which are ideal for the rubbish road surfaces (and weather) in the North West of the UK. They have their Vectran belt in the tyre which is supposed to prevent the nasties getting through. So far so good (I don’t want to jinx myself). This video from GCN (they have a lot of these tips videos) has some good ideas to ‘repair’ an inner tube if you have no spare or patches….

      • I have to thank you for introducing me to GCN. I have just spent an hour exploring all of the content. The videos are very well done, informative and inspirational. I have already emailed the link to fellow riders. I had seen one of their videos (the one about how pros lose weight) but did not realize they had a YouTube channel. Thanks again!

  4. (Edit: I should say, after the emery cloth bodge I started taking a piece of old tyre in my saddlebag to do the same thing. Now I have a short length of duct tape wrapped around my mini-pump to stick inside the tyre if it were to happen again).

    • That’s a good idea. I used to carry duct tape. After all the trouble I have had recently, I will again. Fortunately, I have not had much difficulty with my road bikes – the bikes I do the longer, more remote rides. I hope I haven’t jinxed myself. You seem quite experienced and handy with the tools.

      • I have a background in maintenance engineering which goes in my favour. I learned about bikes quickly as I started riding xc mtb solo in remote locations in the days before mobile phones 🙂 The GCN YouTube channel is good all round but their tips videos are really handy

  5. Hi again!

    High miles can matter, but low miles not so much. My partner won’t keep tires after a year, even if they haven’t started giving him flats. Tires just wear and rot and dry out over time even if not getting used. This goes quicker if the tires don’t keep getting inflated or are stored in not that great of conditions, like a basement. Cheap tires mean maybe a cheaper compound of rubber, but that probably would have happened even with more expensive ones.

    So, it’s nothing you did or didn’t do. Just time working against you 🙂

    • Hi Echo!

      Your partner is right. These tires were 2-3 years old with some reasonable miles on them I have other bikes – road bikes – I ride more, I change the tires on them every season. I neglected to do the same with the commuter. I have since upgraded to a better set of tires and will replace them next year as well.

      Thanks again. And keep those cartoons coming. I enjoy them.

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