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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 04-23-14, 02:32 AM   #1
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Hi, I'm Matt and I'm a clydesdale

Hi Folx,

I'm new to the Bike Forums. I live in the San Francisco East Bay. I've been trying to get back in shape for almost a year now. I started out at 250 and I'm down to about 210. I was running every other day but started to develop Plantar Faciatis last fall. I continued to run when I could and started the snowboarding season in December and by mid January I couldn't walk. The doctor has had me on light duty since February with strictly no impacts to my feet until (for now) mid-May. After exhausting a long list of possible activities with my doctor he said I could bike or swim for cardio.
My family had gone to Kona for vacation last October to watch IronMan. My wife and I got very inspired and bought bikes when we got back home. So I had a shiny new Giant Avail 3 Composite and I had shoulder surgery last year so I started thinking biking it is!
I started riding at the beginning of April when the weather started warming up. I've been riding to work once a week 19.7 miles one way. I've had problems with flats so far. Flatting on 3 of my 4 rides. I recently upgraded to Specialized Armadillo tires but flatted again on the way home this morning. The flats have been discouraging but I realize that's a part of it and I'll find a combination that works better soon.
I was glad to find this Clydesdale forum. Its good to see there are some other large boned folx here.

Last edited by eastbay71; 04-23-14 at 09:59 PM. Reason: spelling and excessive use of the word now
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Old 04-23-14, 02:46 AM   #2
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Hi Matt, and welcome!
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Old 04-23-14, 02:52 AM   #3
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Check in with your local bike shop. You most likely have another issue besides tires. I get one or two flats per season.

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Old 04-23-14, 07:26 AM   #4
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Hi Matt.

Plantar Factitious is a tough one.
I've known some people get relief with high dosages of Omega-3's (plus Dr.s advice) over the long term.

2 flats on a ride is a LOT.

I haven't had a flat in 3k miles... Admittedly, I'm running armored tires, Marathons, a Marathon +, and lately a pair of Gatorskins. And their on the wide side, 38's for the marathons and 32's for the Gatorskins. I run them pretty high pressure as well. I'm 265, plus a pack and water...

Personally, I feel exposed if I don't have everything I need to repair a flat when I ride. So I carry pump, levers, tube, and patch kit.

I used to get a lot of flats on my old bike running 25's on the rear and 23's on the front, even at very high pressures. Most were pinch flats due to edges of potholes, rocks and etc. I had one dumbfounding rash of flats after I got a new rim. It turned out to be a really thin bur at a spoke hole that went barely through the rim tape unless you pressed on it. Diagnosing that one gave me a good cut on my finger!..

Did you identify where the flat was on the tire, what the flat looked like, and perhaps what caused it?
What size tire and what pressures?
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Old 04-23-14, 07:50 AM   #5
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Hi Matt. Welcome to the forums.

I spent much of my adult life in the east bay, and rode a bit for the last few years I was there, but stayed on the flat areas, avoiding the hills (for the most part).

One of the high points for me was when Chabot College offered a weekend course on cycling, and the teacher had us riding some great areas that I had never ventured to before, and got me to ride some hills, and led to my first metric century on one of the area's organized rides

But, concerning the of flats. The key is to try to identify the source of the flat each time you get one. There is no magical combination of tubes/tires/rims that should lead to that many flats unless you need more protection because of riding through glass and thorn filled pits. Admittedly, I hate interrupting rides with flats so much that I have been known to run armored tires, and thorn resistant tubes, although I haven't done that in quite a while. I have about 4,000 miles with one flat while on a ride, and I know that it was caused by a goat's head, because I pulled it out of the tire.
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Old 04-23-14, 08:03 AM   #6
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Welcome to our addiction!

Check for tiny thorns in the tire or burrs on the rim as was mentioned... same thing happened to me till I found this tiny little thorn int my tire... run a cotton ball over the inside of the tire/ rim in both directions very slowly, if there is something in the tire the cotton will pull... also pay attention to where the whole in the tube is in relation to the tire, by marking the tire where the valve is this should also narrow your search area... good luck and keep riding it only gets better!

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Old 04-23-14, 08:07 AM   #7
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Hey Matt,

Welcome to Bike Forums.

Flats can be a problem. Try to find the cause of each one.
I carry 3-5 spare tubes and a spare tire.

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File Type: jpg spare tire.jpg (99.7 KB, 23 views)
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Old 04-23-14, 08:12 AM   #8
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I agree - NICE BIKE. I came very close to buying the "advanced 2" several years ago, which is now the "composite" line. Long story, but I really liked that bike.

And I also agree, find the cause of the flats. I carry a cotton ball in my bag to run inside the tire after a flat. Rather see a cotton ball lose its life than find a thorn with my fingertip!
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Old 04-23-14, 09:01 AM   #9
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Welcome to BF and congratulations on the weight loss. I don't think you'll be a Clyde for long. I roller coaster around 200 but always stay with this group as I just like it here!
I guess you can tell from the above posts you've probably got another problem causing those flats. I limp along at about 2,500 miles/year and get ~3-4 flats a year. Nothing special about my tires, just the BF recommended Contis 4000S. I don't run liners or any flat protection goo.
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Old 04-23-14, 01:47 PM   #10
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1) Identify your tires & what pressure you're running them (and you DO pump them up before each and every ride, right?). I'm about your weight and can get away with 90F/100R on 25mm tires. Go up 10 or 20 psi for 23mm tires.
2) 10Wheels looks like a gypsy, you can get all the stuff you need into a saddle pack. I keep two known good tubes, 3 CO2 cartridges, tire levers, patch kit, chain tool, 2 spare master links, multi-tool and one or two other things and it all fits. Tiny frame pump on my frame for finding flats and getting the tires started, although it will pump the tire up all the way if I'm out of CO2. If you're touring, do what he does.
3) Figure out why you're getting flats. I got three on one ride once and it turned out to be a tiny little wire from the tread that was poking a hole in the tubes. They'd go flat over the course of a few miles. Run a cotton ball around the inside of the tire and see if it snags. Also, evaluate your rim strip tape - the manufacturers tend to cheap out there and if you are getting flats on the inside part of your tire, that may be the cause. Velox cloth tape is the best, easily installed and cheap if that's the case.

20 miles one way is a great commute, especially if you can either clean yourself up at work or work where it's not too big of a deal. Baby wipes from Costco are nice for that. If you have a secure parking lot, you can also drive in, ride home, ride back the next day and drive home and eventually, ride both ways. It's a great way to get your required exercise in.

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Old 04-23-14, 02:01 PM   #11
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OP, depending on where you ride getting multiple flats in a single ride may be a fact of cycling life.

As others have suggested, maybe carry more than 2 spare tubes plus a small patch kit, just in case you run out of tubes. I always use a hand pump, no worries about running out of C02 cartridges

Where I ride, we get goat heads during the late summer and early fall. Those despicable little things can make you flat over and over within just a few miles.

Congratulations on your newly found addiction.

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Old 04-23-14, 08:25 PM   #12
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Wow thanks for all the quick replies! I love an active forum.
Let me identify my current setup - I have the stock Giant PR-3 wheels that came on the bike with Specialized Armadillo 700x23C tires and whatever type of tubes REI sells. I run the pressure at 125psi in the both wheels and check it before I leave the house. I have no way to check it at work so I may have to invest in another pump. I have been carrying one spare tube, wheel levers, a Park multi tool, 3 CO2 cartridges and the little adapter to let you use the air line at a gas station on your prestas, a pack of tire patches and a small super glue gel tube. I need to get a small pump for my camel back. Could I buy a larger tire like a 700x25 or 28 and use that on my current rims? I tried asking the clerk at the LBS but he said I needed new rims. That doesn't seem right to me.
One of my flats was definitely a pinch from going over the light rail tracks, but the other two were in the same spot on the backside of the presta valve. When I got home this morning (I switch back and forth between working days and nights) I took my tire off and felt around the the inside of the tire and rim with cotton glove liners on but couldn't find a burr or any debris. The liner on the rim was off by about 1/32" and I tried my best to shift it back into place but I may replace it if i continue to have issues. I cut the bead off the tires that came with the bike and slipped the carcass inside Armadillo before reassembling everything. I also gave it a good dousing of baby powder to help things find their center once inflated. I'm still in recovery mode from Monday's ride so haven't tried it out yet.
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Old 04-23-14, 08:31 PM   #13
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I agree - NICE BIKE. I came very close to buying the "advanced 2" several years ago, which is now the "composite" line. Long story, but I really liked that bike.

Thanks! I got a killer deal on it. But I do have to come clean on this. I actually ride the Giant Avail, which is the women's version of the Defy. They were closing out all the 2013 bikes and had one 2012 left as well. The 2012 Avail fit me really well. We tried the Avail and Defy back to back and even though the literature said the geometry is optimized for a women's body I would be hard pressed to tell the difference. They were motivated to sell it so they gave me 30% off so whatever, big deal, its a girls bike. I saved nearly $1G. We did buy a my wife's Giant TCR Composite 2 and a trike for my daughter on the same day so it was a package deal. It took me a while to get used to the aggressive steering on it. The head tube angle is a lot more than I'm used to having ridden a mountain bike for years. I just got brave enough to ride it no hands on my last ride.

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Old 04-23-14, 08:41 PM   #14
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I had suffered with bouts of Plantar Factitious until I changed my diet about 5 months ago. Not fun.

Hope you can get yours under control. GL.
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Old 04-23-14, 09:17 PM   #15
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Hi Matt, welcome to Bike forums! Lets talk about your flat problems a bit. Are you saying that you are using a tire as a liner inside of an Armadillo tire? If that is the case consider just using the Armadillos by them selves. I ride over RR tracks, road cracks, stones, glass, manhole covers, gravel and dirt trails and roads, cattle guards and through pot holes all without getting any flats since switching to Armadillos. It is possible that there is not enough room inside of your tires for the tube to fill out correctly leading to creases that become pinch flats. If your rim tape has moved and leaves even a smidgen of a gap at a spoke hole that will cause flats as well. I ride my tires until there are at least two spots on the tread where I get wear though of 1/2". By the time they are even half worn out each tire has a number of small cuts through the tread layer.

The LBS that gave you the advice that you would need to change wheels due to wanting to go to a larger tire is somewhere I'd not go back to. The guy gave you a wrong answer. You can almost for sure go to a 25 and likely a 28. Your brakes would be the limiting factor, due to possible fit issues. BTW I run Roubiax Armadillos which are size 23/25 with a folding bead. I used to run the less expensive wire bead version.

Good luck finding the problem with your tires and hope you have many happy miles. Congrats on the weightloss so far. BTW for reference, until just recently I was above 234 for the last several years and logged 5000 miles last year.
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Old 04-23-14, 09:34 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by eastbay71 View Post
Could I buy a larger tire like a 700x25 or 28 and use that on my current rims? I tried asking the clerk at the LBS but he said I needed new rims. That doesn't seem right to me.
Absolutely you can get 25 or 28 mm tires and fit them on the rims, clerk at LBS is incompetent. 25s will definitely work, 28 depends on clearances at the brake arch, fork crown, chainstays; on some bikes it can be a pretty tight fit, and sometimes depends on the tire since some tires even of the same nominal spec can run slightly larger than other brands/models. Also 28s can be more of a pain getting past the brake pads when inflated, if you need to take the wheel off to get it in a car for example. Already with 25s I have to use both the brake release & barrel adjuster to get my wheel off. Depends on rim width and the brake design. I started out around your current weight and was fine on 25s, still use 25s.

Larger tire would help with pinch flats. if you've ruled out embedded debris in tire & rim tape/spoke hole issues it really could be just bad luck though. You should always install the tire so that the label is over the valve stem, that way you have a known reference point to check for holes. If these are foreign object punctures, once you locate the hole in the tube, you should be able to find the corresponding hole in the tire, whether or not the culprit is still stuck in there. If there are double holes in the tube about an inch apart that's a pinch, holes on the inside part of the tube would tend to indicate rim strip issues with the spokes/spoke hole edges.

A lot of it I'm convinced is just luck. Last 2400 miles, I went something like 800 miles - 0 flats, 800 miles - 8 flats, 800 miles - 1 flat. During the bad stretch I did toss my tires out of extreme frustration (partially the flatting, but also largely because it seemed the beads had stretched and I was having issues getting the tires seated and not blowing off the rim, which killed a few more tubes). But I can't really know if the fewer flats afterwards is due to a tougher tire, or if my luck simply changed.

BTW it's spelled "plantar fasciitis", not "factitious".
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Old 04-23-14, 09:54 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by stephtu View Post
Absolutely you can get 25 or 28 mm tires and fit them on the rims, clerk at LBS is incompetent. 25s will definitely work,
This is a known fact. The LBS closest to my house is not good BUT they are open late 7 days a week and they stock Specialized and other quality brands. The bike shop with the knowledgeable staff where i bought my bike is in a strip mall with a very popular coffee shop so its impossible to get in. They keep weird hours and don't really stock many parts at all mostly just bikes. I try to support them but they aren't offering me much. I get a lot of my cheap stuff at REI because they are convenient. But they can be really hit or miss depending on who is working that day. When I bought my computer there it wasn't in the box when I got home
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