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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 12-03-06, 09:47 PM   #1
DavidLee
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Cold weather = more flats?

I've managed to go 9 months without a flat & now have had 5 flats on 2 bikes in the past 2 weeks. Both bikes have the newer Gatorskins & those have been great till now. 1 flat was a steel wire that ripped half inch gash through my sidewall, the rest glass shards on different areas of my commute. I'm pretty good about keeping my tires inflated properly & give them the once over before each ride.

Is the cold weather sapping air from my tires throughout my ride? Does the tire rolling over cold concrete some how make tires more prone to flats? Or have the "Flat Gods" just frowned upon me the past 2 weeks? The good news is that I can now change out tubes pretty darn quick.

Thoughts, comments?

edit - I just read the "Flat flat flatty flat flat" thread. Perhaps it's just some weird freaky flat phenomenon?
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Last edited by DavidLee; 12-03-06 at 09:54 PM.
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Old 12-03-06, 10:50 PM   #2
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Riding in the dark makes you hit stuff you might otherwise miss. Riding in the rain lubricates the sharp things so they do a better job of cutting your tires. BTW, 2 flats in 2 weeks is nothing. I once got 8 in 7 days.
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Old 12-03-06, 11:00 PM   #3
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I'd blame the flat gods. How cold has it been the last couple of weeks?
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Old 12-03-06, 11:23 PM   #4
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I have a theory, for the UK at least... not sure is this would be the case in other countries.

But in the winter months, and if frost is expected... we have gritting wagons that go around spreading a mix of rock salt and grit on the roads. When I worked for the Security dept of my local council I got the chance to take a look at this mix. There was a lot of sharp glass-like material mixed in with it. I know some local councils only use rock salt, but in areas that traditionally have the worst of the ice and frost they use this mix.

As is the case with most road debris is it thrown to the curbside, and given busy roads in my area... a cyclist has no choice but to sometimes ride close to the curb. Thus picking up this grit on their tyres.

It is a fact I get more punctures in cold weather. I bought my current bike in May this year, and I had no punctures until October.. when we had our first frost and the gritters had been out.
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Old 12-04-06, 08:39 AM   #5
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The city usually cleans the streets quite a bit less. Thus, you get a larger amount of debris built up.
Also, broken beer bottles increase drastically. I wonder if this is due to a combination of the seasons, reduced street cleanup, some type of season affective disorder that causes everyone to drink, or that most normal folks stay indoors leaving the drunks to rule the town?
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Old 12-04-06, 09:55 AM   #6
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Maybe this is dumb luck or snow tire-related, but I notice far less.
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Old 12-04-06, 10:19 AM   #7
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I always get more flats in Winter, doubless due to rain induced lubrication. There is usually no pattern to their occurrence except the one stretch when I had one or more flats every Thursday for weeks! I was ready to change my work schedule. Don
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Old 12-04-06, 12:49 PM   #8
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I've never gotten a flat in the winter, but that's because I switch from thin, high pressure tires to Nokians, and I'm riding on snow a lot of the time. But I think mainly it's the much thicker tires.
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Old 12-04-06, 02:22 PM   #9
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I think I have fewer flats in the winter. As opposed to during rain. However the flat changing experience the one or two times I've done it in sub 20 temps has been pretty nasty. In the first five minutes of work I sweat profusely because of the sudden stop. It is then a rush to get the bike back together before I start getting seriously cold. You'd think I'd learn to strip down first so I could avoid the rush of sweat, but something about taking clothes off is hard to convince yourself to do.

I definitely have more technical glitches in the cold though. Battery's, deraileurs etc. all seem to get a little *****y in the sub 20's.
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Old 12-04-06, 02:37 PM   #10
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I hate to admit it but I am actually afraid of getting a flat in cold temps. Hence the reason that I ride the light rail half the way in the morning when the temps are below freezing. Above freezing I ride the entire way in and take the light rail or bus half the way home in the evening.
I had several flats around freezing that I overheated and then became really cold. When I overheat my body develops issues that require use of a facility.
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Old 12-04-06, 03:26 PM   #11
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I definitely cop more flats in the winter. When it first starts to happen I tend to zealously over-react by buying new tires and tubes and that usually solves the problem.
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Old 12-04-06, 09:52 PM   #12
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I ride heavy commute tires all year long and have fewer flats in the winter mostly because I ride less in the cold and rain.
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