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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 07-25-08, 07:26 AM   #1
tekknoschtev
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Lesson Learned - Flats

I got taught the lesson of why you always carry a spare tube and pump this morning on the ride in to work. I still haven't had an opportunity to determine why the tube went flat, but I do know that about a mile away from work the tire wasn't up to the challenge. Originally I thought it was just handling poorly for some reason but then I noticed that the tire was completely flat.

I just ordered the Road Morph G, as well as two spare tubes (doesn't it figure, the spare I have is on my work bench at home), a 120cu.in. seat bag, and a spoke wrench (it was cheap and the coupon required that I order 5 items so...). All in all, I'm not the slightest bit upset that I spent the money. I will assuredly be mounting the pump on my bike, and stuffing the bag with the tube, tire levers, patch kit, and since its large enough maybe a multi tool or something.

Fortunately, the MSU Bike Shop is less than half a mile away and I can carry just the front tire there. Maybe they'll loan me the tire levers because, along with the spare tube, my tire levers are sitting on the work bench as well.

So... lesson learned. Carrying the bike for a mile is no fun.
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Old 07-25-08, 10:19 AM   #2
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I just did my first roadside repair this morning - broke a rear spoke and popped the tube after hitting a nasty pavement break. Fortunately I always carry a tube and a pump, so it only took 15 minutes til I was back on the bike. A second spoke snapped before I got to work, so the rear wheel is off to the LBS after work (no, I don't know how to replace a spoke).
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Old 07-25-08, 10:26 AM   #3
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I just did my first roadside repair this morning - broke a rear spoke and popped the tube after hitting a nasty pavement break. Fortunately I always carry a tube and a pump, so it only took 15 minutes til I was back on the bike. A second spoke snapped before I got to work, so the rear wheel is off to the LBS after work (no, I don't know how to replace a spoke).
FYI, popping spokes may be a bad sign... I had this problem and it was solved with a wheel rebuild... I had a couple threads about this, one over in the Mechanics Forum was quite helpful... here ya go!
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Old 07-25-08, 10:50 AM   #4
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So... lesson learned. Carrying the bike for a mile is no fun.
I know exactly how you feel. My tire went flat one day when I was leaving work.... needless to say I had to walk the bike 4-5 miles back to the house..... But I've never forgot the tube and pump since
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Old 07-25-08, 10:56 AM   #5
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I know exactly how you feel. My tire went flat one day when I was leaving work.... needless to say I had to walk the bike 4-5 miles back to the house..... But I've never forgot the tube and pump since
I'm hoping that with the large seat wedge bag that I won't either. The ironic thing is that I just removed the rear rack to which I regularly had a spare tube strapped. Granted, that wouldn't have helped me today because I was without a pump and my tire levers, but I could have zipped up to the campus bike shop and taken care of the problem with some borrowed levers (they have free compressed air up to 125psi )

Its funny, it only takes one incident to change how you look at the situation. The $38 (pump and two tubes) doesn't seem so bad now. I also bought a spoke wrench and the wedge bag, but that's besides the point. 1 mile wasn't so bad, but any longer than that and I'd have been trying to find a place to stash the bike and return with my car.
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Old 07-25-08, 11:01 AM   #6
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I find that you can leave the tire levers at home, I can get the tire on and off without them. My experience was not that dissimilar. I had co2 and a patch kit for minimal space requirements. First time I needed it, I goofed up, ran out of co2, and had to call the wife for a ride home. Fortunately, it didn't happen on the way into work. That's when I switched to carrying a pump, a tube, and a patch kit for commuting bikes.

For recreational road biking, I still use the co2. After all, if I have to walk, or wait for an evac, its no big deal when you are on your own play time. Plus I bet I never goof up a flat repair like that again.
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Old 07-25-08, 11:04 AM   #7
tekknoschtev
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Hot Potato, after struggling for a half hour previously with these same tires to replace a tube, I learned why some people need tire levers. Prior to that I thought people were nuts because on some of my bikes, when the tube isn't inflated, the tire comes off with great ease. These, however, definitely need the tire levers, or someone much stronger and more coordinated than I. Plus, they take up next to no room so why not
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Old 07-25-08, 11:05 AM   #8
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I find that you can leave the tire levers at home...
That totally depends on your tire/rim combination, sometimes yes, sometimes no f'ing way.
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Old 07-25-08, 11:10 AM   #9
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This may seem like overkill to some, but I ride through several commercial and light industrial areas and have used everything in my kit multiple times. Below is a list of what I carry while commuting:

Two tubes
Compact pump (to be replaced next week with a Park frame pump)
Two CO2 cartridges
Park tire levers
Tire boot (for really bad days)
Emergency patch kit (for really, really bad days)
Universal tool
Compact first-aid kit
Quick Link
Cash

In the car and at home I keep a tire, tube(s) and CO2 cartridge(s) to replenish the flat bag, lube and rags. If you've got room for it, a lightweight folding tire is nice to have if you hit something really hard.
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Old 07-25-08, 11:11 AM   #10
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You got a flat because the roads around Michigan State suck...they are all littered with debris of burnt couches and tear gas canisters...unlike the pristine biking surfaces down here in Ann Arbor :-D


//I didn't grow up in Michigan or go to UM for undergrad, so I don't fully understand the UM/MSU rivalry, but still feel required to comment on couch burning and riot police whenever given the opportunity...and sadly, a lot of the roads in Ann Arbor are actually beat to hell, at least where I bike.
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Old 07-25-08, 11:15 AM   #11
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Well, I must add that I do have one old bike that I can't remember ever changing a flat on. I did throw some levers in that bike's bag, just in case, since it is going to be my foul weather commuter. So I guess that it has occurred to me that tire levers might be needed in some circumstances, but so far I haven't had it happen yet. The other bikes don't have levers though, since I know I don't need them.

I would like to change my statement to "you can USUALLY leave the levers at home." Why leave them out? I don't know, I guess I commute with just that which I need, and no more.
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Old 07-25-08, 11:25 AM   #12
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That totally depends on your tire/rim combination, sometimes yes, sometimes no f'ing way.
Absolutely correct. If you can get the tires off at home without levers without breaking a sweat (or a thumbnail) you're fine to leave them at home. In my experience, I was able to get Specialized, Maxxis and Michelin tires off pretty easily without levers, at least above freezing, but the Contis I'm running are almost impossible to get on or off without levers.
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Old 07-25-08, 11:34 AM   #13
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You got a flat because the roads around Michigan State suck...they are all littered with debris of burnt couches and tear gas canisters...unlike the pristine biking surfaces down here in Ann Arbor :-D


//I didn't grow up in Michigan or go to UM for undergrad, so I don't fully understand the UM/MSU rivalry, but still feel required to comment on couch burning and riot police whenever given the opportunity...and sadly, a lot of the roads in Ann Arbor are actually beat to hell, at least where I bike.
Says you!

I commute between Ypsi and Ann Arbor Every day and I got 4 flats this month. 2 last week!

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Old 07-25-08, 11:46 AM   #14
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Says you!

I commute between Ypsi and Ann Arbor Every day and I got 4 flats this month. 2 last week!

Notice I said:

Quote:
and sadly, a lot of the roads in Ann Arbor are actually beat to hell, at least where I bike.
Apparently, they don't like to fill potholes on any of the roads I normally bike on. And when you don't patch them, they only get bigger next year! I'm amazed I haven't gotten more flats...I actually just replaced a tube that had lasted 4 years (and it was only replaced because of a valve issue)!

I'm sure after saying that, tomorrow I will get 7 flats.
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Old 07-25-08, 11:51 AM   #15
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Notice I said:



Apparently, they don't like to fill potholes on any of the roads I normally bike on. And when you don't patch them, they only get bigger next year! I'm amazed I haven't gotten more flats...I actually just replaced a tube that had lasted 4 years (and it was only replaced because of a valve issue)!

I'm sure after saying that, tomorrow I will get 7 flats.
D'oh that's what I get for not reading the last part of the post.

Yea, The route I take isn't so bad, But there are bad chunks. Mostly It's the crushed glass from all the drunkard bums and college students leave behind that has posed the biggest threat.
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Old 07-25-08, 12:16 PM   #16
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In an emergency you can use the quick release skewer as a tire lever.
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Old 07-25-08, 12:32 PM   #17
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In an emergency you can use the quick release skewer as a tire lever.
now that very useful advice, which I never would have thought of myself, has made this thread a winner!

One lever on my multitool, two skewers, I am covered.
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Old 07-25-08, 12:39 PM   #18
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So... lesson learned. Carrying the bike for a mile is no fun.
There's no need for that if you carry a lock. Just lock it up, go get your stuff, and return later to do the repair.

I carry tools when a breakdown would seriously inconvenience me...which means, not on my commute. A lot of people's commutes are very different, and they'd have a long hike if they had a breakdown, but in my case it's usually quicker to lock it up, get to work on time, and deal later.
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Old 07-25-08, 02:24 PM   #19
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I would still carry two tire levers to be on the safe side.
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Old 07-25-08, 02:48 PM   #20
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Quick question. When you say you carried the bike for a mile... you mean literally carry? Why would you do that with a flat? I mean, I understand walking the bike if it has a flat, but would the weight of the bike itself damage the rim on a flat tire?
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Old 07-25-08, 06:21 PM   #21
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That totally depends on your tire/rim combination, sometimes yes, sometimes no f'ing way.
x2

I learned that the hard way
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Old 07-25-08, 07:10 PM   #22
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Tire levers. An informal survey conducted in my head states that 9 out of 10 tire/rim combinations require and/or are greatly facilitated by the assistance of at least one tire lever or tire lever-like object.

bf
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Old 07-25-08, 07:15 PM   #23
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You got a flat because the roads around Michigan State suck...they are all littered with debris of burnt couches and tear gas canisters...unlike the pristine biking surfaces down here in Ann Arbor :-D

//I didn't grow up in Michigan or go to UM for undergrad, so I don't fully understand the UM/MSU rivalry, but still feel required to comment on couch burning and riot police whenever given the opportunity...and sadly, a lot of the roads in Ann Arbor are actually beat to hell, at least where I bike.
The only problem with your statement is that "the roads around Michigan suck" its not just State Except a good stretch of I96 - but no bikes allowed.

My ex goes to UM (Flint) and I am graduating from MSU in December (no, the "ex" status has nothing to do with the competitive schools). We had some amazing bickering over schools - I've never had more school spirit The "ex" status stemmed from the distance...

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In an emergency you can use the quick release skewer as a tire lever.
BRILLIANT!

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Originally Posted by lil brown bat View Post
There's no need for that if you carry a lock. Just lock it up, go get your stuff, and return later to do the repair.

I carry tools when a breakdown would seriously inconvenience me...which means, not on my commute. A lot of people's commutes are very different, and they'd have a long hike if they had a breakdown, but in my case it's usually quicker to lock it up, get to work on time, and deal later.
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Quick question. When you say you carried the bike for a mile... you mean literally carry? Why would you do that with a flat? I mean, I understand walking the bike if it has a flat, but would the weight of the bike itself damage the rim on a flat tire?
No, I didn't carry it for very far, but I did carry it, only because I was worried about damaging the rim or the tire when I hit bumps in the sidewalk. I could have locked it up if I had a lock. I don't normally carry one with me because this bike has been going straight from home to the office and then back. I am ordering a U-lock to combine with my cable lock for use during the semester but I just didn't have it with me. My fault but it wasn't too bad of a walk/hike. I don't have a set time to be to work, so I can never really be "late" so, no big deal (and in fact, my boss and two other guys just randomly didn't show up at all so the doors were still locked when I got there )
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Old 07-25-08, 07:24 PM   #24
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Had a few flats in my time too. The one thing that I routinely do that seems to eliminate most of them is to install tire liners. My LBS nearly had a fit when I wanted them on my new cannondale F7. But, I remember riding in West Texas and "Mr. Tuffys" prevented mesquite(?) thorns from ripping my tubes apart. I realize they aren't "cool", but they sure do help. Of course, at my age nothing is cool. Just my $0.02.
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Old 07-25-08, 09:26 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by nmanhipot View Post
This may seem like overkill to some, but I ride through several commercial and light industrial areas and have used everything in my kit multiple times. Below is a list of what I carry while commuting:

Two tubes
Compact pump (to be replaced next week with a Park frame pump)
Two CO2 cartridges
Park tire levers
Tire boot (for really bad days)
Emergency patch kit (for really, really bad days)
Universal tool
Compact first-aid kit
Quick Link
Cash

In the car and at home I keep a tire, tube(s) and CO2 cartridge(s) to replenish the flat bag, lube and rags. If you've got room for it, a lightweight folding tire is nice to have if you hit something really hard.
Ya might want to consider a chaintool, too. Park makes a real nice compact one for about 15.00. Oh, I just noticed 'Quick Link'...nevermind. My bad.
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