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Daily Archives: June 4, 2019

Cycling, and How to Fix a Catastrophic Flat Tire… Without Having to Walk Home.

You know when you hit something in the road and it’s bad. Your tire flats almost instantly. A catastrophic blowout can be a little spooky, unless you’re prepared.

I’ve been carrying the same flat kit for five years and never needed the extra pieces… until Sunday morning, 25 miles out. Way too far to walk home…

One minute I was happily cruising down the road with my friends, the next I was on the side of the road with my rear wheel off, wondering how I was going to limp my bike home.

I was prepared, though.  I hadn’t been carrying around extra measures for nothing. I got my tire levers out of my pack and pulled the tube and tire. I inspected the inside of the tire… the puncture was clean through the Michelin Pro 4 Endurance kevlar.  It had to be a piece of metal or glass in the road I hadn’t seen. I reached into my pack and pulled out a package of Specialized Flat Boys. Scuffed up the inside of the tire with the sandpaper and applied the adhesive patch over the gash. Then I installed the tire, then the new tube… and then, the trick; a good old-fashioned Dollar bill folded in half, twice – once the short way, then once the long way.

Without that dollar I’d have been pooched. Even with the Flat Boy or another patch, it wouldn’t have been enough to keep the tube in the tire. The inflated tube would have pushed through the tear in the tire and it would’ve blown inside of minutes.  Instead, I rode the remaining 40 miles of that ride with a smile on my face (wondering the whole time if the roadside patch would hold).

One final, very important little tip: Make sure the tire flap from the gash is pointing the right way, no matter the rotational recommendation of the tire.  You want the gash facing so the rotating tire will slap it shut every time around.  If it’s backwards, the road can open it up a little bit every revolution.  When the gash is atop the wheel, as in my first photo, you want the flap pointing to the back of the bike.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t add the last little laugh line from my buddy, Brad.  I was standing in line at the counter to purchase a Coca-Cola (orange vanilla, it’s FANTASTIC) and Brad comes up behind me and says, “Hey, I’ll pay for that Coke for ya so you don’t have to take your bike apart”.  We had a good laugh over that one.