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Thread: My first flat

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    My first flat

    Today I went to my pre-dawn daily short ride. Ten minutes into it I noticed the bike to be acting weird and becoming very heavy. I checked and my rear wheel was flat. The fact that it was pitch dark in the trail, and the fact that I never changed a tire before, led me me to concede. Bummer!

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    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    I've had a couple of 'em. It's good to carry a spare tube, tire irons, and a pump. But, in the dark, it would be hard for anybody to repair a flat.

    Did you figure out what caused it?
    -- puncture
    -- Snake bite / pinch flat
    -- Bad valve
    -- Gremlins

    There are ways to avoid or minimize the risk of all of those except Gremlins. They'll getcha every time.
    --------------------------------------
    bikes: 1992 Cannondale R500, 2012 Trek DS 8.5, 2008 LeMond Poprad

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    Practice at home is always best.

    Some tire rim combinations are very difficult.
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    it is hard to tell what caused it since I checkd the tire pressure before leaving home. It must have been a sharp. also, i carry a pump and I inflated the tire after I discovered the flat, but that was good for hald a minute then flat again. I will see if I can Replace the tire myself in the ccomfort of home, and if my back doesn't act up too much (since I have had multiple back surgeries, any bending of weird moves would trigger a back episode). Alternatively! I can just take the bike to a nearby LBS and have him fix it. Maybe I will also change to a narrower tire while I am there :-)

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    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
    Tex,
    I always carry a spare tube, a patch kit and a set of plastic tyre irons from Park Tool, there are many others available, too, and I use a CO2 inflator with 3 spare cartridges, in a seat post bag. It is very compact and does not get in the way. I have had to replace a tube twice this fall from blowouts, one required a dollar bill boot for the tyre. You could also carry one of the mini pumps that can be mounted on your bike's frame if you don't want to use CO2 for environmental concerns. Hope the flat bug stays away from you now, many will not post here out of fear that they have jinxed their self on the flat fairy coming around.

    Bill
    My tire fairy is a goat.

    Last ride - a couple of days ago - I got five goatheads - 3 in the front tire and two in the rear.



    I knew that if I rode on, the goatheads that had not penetrated the tube yet would, as they were on the bottom of the tire. So, I had no choice but to gingerly remove each goathead, praying that it would be OK. That worked fine for the first 3, but on the 4th, on the back wheel, - pssstttt - and the air came out.

    As I wasn't feeling great, and the tires were brand new and stiff, and it was pretty cold, I decided to call the rescue wagon, who sweetly and understandingly came to pick me up.

    The bike is still in the garage with a flat, and the temp is 2F. SOmeday soon, I will get the bike down and fix the flat. I am considering kevlar liners (the tire does have kevlar, but a goathead will go through just about anything.)

    This is why I carry two tubes and an excellent pump and a patch kit.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 12-10-12 at 06:59 AM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

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    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexLex100 View Post
    it is hard to tell what caused it since I checkd the tire pressure before leaving home. It must have been a sharp. also, i carry a pump and I inflated the tire after I discovered the flat, but that was good for hald a minute then flat again. I will see if I can Replace the tire myself in the ccomfort of home, and if my back doesn't act up too much (since I have had multiple back surgeries, any bending of weird moves would trigger a back episode). Alternatively! I can just take the bike to a nearby LBS and have him fix it. Maybe I will also change to a narrower tire while I am there :-)
    It's good to find out the cause -- even if you have the LBS change it.

    If it was a puncture, you could look at the tires for wear and puncture protection. Some tires come with puncture protection such as Kevlar or Aramid belts. Or you can use tire liners. In any case, whatever punctured the tube may still be in the tire waiting to stick another tube.

    If it was a pinch flat, consider increasing your tire pressure.

    If the puncture came from inside it may be from a spoke or bad rim strip.

    Otherwise, just blame the gremlins and keep riding.

    But, I really try to avoid flats as I do not relish the consequences of mechanical failure in the rain and cold when I'm 10 or 15 miles from my car.
    --------------------------------------
    bikes: 1992 Cannondale R500, 2012 Trek DS 8.5, 2008 LeMond Poprad

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    Conquer Cancer rider Boudicca's Avatar
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    Strangely, I have no memory of ever having a flat when I rode as a child. In fact I don't really remember if I even pumped the tires up when I was commuting to and from school or work as a teenager.
    Zero gallons to the mile

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    I don't know if my tires have any kevlar. They are called "Kenda Small Block Eight 700X35". Since I am brand new to cycling, I wonder if I just should take the bike to the LBS and ask him to replace the tire, and to tell me what was the cause. I have actually posted another thread about whether to change those tires to a thinner and smoother ones. Maybe this is an indication that it is the time, although I am wondering whether it would be a good time since winter is starting with rains and later snow.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac View Post
    It's good to find out the cause -- even if you have the LBS change it.

    If it was a puncture, you could look at the tires for wear and puncture protection. Some tires come with puncture protection such as Kevlar or Aramid belts. Or you can use tire liners. In any case, whatever punctured the tube may still be in the tire waiting to stick another tube.

    If it was a pinch flat, consider increasing your tire pressure.

    If the puncture came from inside it may be from a spoke or bad rim strip.

    Otherwise, just blame the gremlins and keep riding.

    But, I really try to avoid flats as I do not relish the consequences of mechanical failure in the rain and cold when I'm 10 or 15 miles from my car.

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    "My first flat." "I've had a couple of them."
    Jesus Christ. I've had nine on a century and six in my 25-mile RT commute. Back when I kept compulsive records, I averaged one every 30 miles all summer (lot of thorns here).
    This points up the value of learning to do routine stuff before you have to do it, though. The first time I fixed a flat, about 1970, it took half an hour. I can do it now, with a spare tube but a frame-fit pump, in about four minutes.

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    These flats threads remind me of back in the 70's riding 300 miles a week or so, and on silk sew-up, a fat every 2-4 weeks was pretty normal. Then eventually changed to clinchers, and even then a flat a month was pretty routine. Tires are so much better these days. Of course, most rides were uphill into tornadic head winds also.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    "My first flat." "I've had a couple of them."
    Jesus Christ. I've had nine on a century and six in my 25-mile RT commute. Back when I kept compulsive records, I averaged one every 30 miles all summer (lot of thorns here).
    This points up the value of learning to do routine stuff before you have to do it, though. The first time I fixed a flat, about 1970, it took half an hour. I can do it now, with a spare tube but a frame-fit pump, in about four minutes.
    I live in Northern Nevada too, (Elko), and the goatheads are terrible here. I hate tires with Mr Tuffy liners and sealant. They get so heavy it takes the fun out of riding. I, do use a Scwhalbe Marathon Tour Plus during the summer for some precaution. I don't use anything during the winter and I don't ride in town much. Alleys and vacant lots are avoided at all costs. I carry a spare tube, patch kit and pump/C02. I especially carry a cell phone...
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    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boudicca View Post
    Strangely, I have no memory of ever having a flat when I rode as a child. In fact I don't really remember if I even pumped the tires up when I was commuting to and from school or work as a teenager.
    Wow. I had my first flat at age 12 and less than 100 yards into my first ride. That day I also learned that you never change a flat using a screw driver as a tire lever. That same week I learned that filling ones tires with the air pump as the local gas station was risky at best. But at least when the inner tube exploded I knew not to use screw drivers when remounting the tire!
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    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexLex100 View Post
    I don't know if my tires have any kevlar. They are called "Kenda Small Block Eight 700X35". Since I am brand new to cycling, I wonder if I just should take the bike to the LBS and ask him to replace the tire, and to tell me what was the cause. I have actually posted another thread about whether to change those tires to a thinner and smoother ones. Maybe this is an indication that it is the time, although I am wondering whether it would be a good time since winter is starting with rains and later snow.
    It would be unusual (but not unheard of) to have to replace the tire. Usually it is just the tube.

    And, your bike shop will be able to do whatever needs done (and make it look incredibly easy). But it would be a good idea to ask them what caused the flat.

    Also, they should be able to advise on the best route to go with the tires. For example, I got a new high-end hybrid a few months back but it came with pretty low-end tires with no flat protection. So, within a week I had a flat. They suggested that I add tire liners since they were brand new tires...

    There are a lot of options..,

    But I would also ask them what you would need to repair a flat while out riding (tube/patch, pump, tire "irons" and a way to carry it). Also, of course, you would need to know HOW to change it. It is actually fairly simple once you know how. But, without knowing how, it's a bear.

    On the other hand, you could just keep a cell phone and $20 for a cab with you...
    --------------------------------------
    bikes: 1992 Cannondale R500, 2012 Trek DS 8.5, 2008 LeMond Poprad

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    Quote Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
    Wow. I had my first flat at age 12 and less than 100 yards into my first ride. That day I also learned that you never change a flat using a screw driver as a tire lever. That same week I learned that filling ones tires with the air pump as the local gas station was risky at best. But at least when the inner tube exploded I knew not to use screw drivers when remounting the tire!
    I did both of those things in the early 70s. You could get away with a screwdriver because the rims were steel.

    I remember the first time I marred an alloy rim with a screwdriver. My heart sank... Long ago and far away.

    Two words for the OP, "head" "lamp". At least you can see what you're attempting to do in the freezing otherwise darkness...

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    we used screwdrivers in the 70s. those rims were indestructible.

    I went much of the year without a flat and now have had a bunch all at once. The last three while the bike was sitting. And I found nothing in the tire. Starting to wonder if one of the cats is actually clawing at the tires.

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    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
    "My first flat." "I've had a couple of them."
    How can you have the first time for anything happen several times? Just curious.
    Real cyclists use toe clips.
    jimmuller

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    A good idea might to have the LBS fix the flat and ask if ou can watch them do it, thereby gaining some "ed-u-ma-kay-tion" about the process.

    As a side note, beyond carrying a pump, spare tube, and patch kit, I'd add a pair of throw-away gloves to keep your hands clean while changing out the rear tube, 'cause it seems like the rear tire goes flat at least 3 to 1 over the front tire. I got a box of vinyl gloves at Stuff-mart. I think the box was under $9.

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    Flat fixing is one of the basic skills that you have to learn very early on-Along with adjusting the dérailleurs to keep the gear changes smooth.

    It is fine for those of us with a mechanical skill to say it is easy- but if you have no idea on how to do it then it can be daunting. The idea of letting the LBS watch and show how to repair the tube is not a bad idea. And I will second the Helmet lamp. Besides being useful for repairs and map reading etc.--it also acts as a back up lamp for when the main one packs up or runs out of battery.
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    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
    Flat fixing is one of the basic skills that you have to learn very early on-Along with adjusting the dérailleurs to keep the gear changes smooth.

    It is fine for those of us with a mechanical skill to say it is easy- but if you have no idea on how to do it then it can be daunting. The idea of letting the LBS watch and show how to repair the tube is not a bad idea. And I will second the Helmet lamp. Besides being useful for repairs and map reading etc.--it also acts as a back up lamp for when the main one packs up or runs out of battery.
    There are Youtube videos on changing tires and fixing flats
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    The Small Block Eight is a good choice,its one of the fastest rolling tires for a trail but has no flat resistance.Myself and friends use them.Many of the younger dudes convert their tires to tubeless.No more flats.Remove tube and add a product called stans tubless kit.As far as flats go I'm due its been months for me.Last year I had 13 flats in 6 weeks Mtb and road.Screws ,tacks,nails road bike and thorns for the mtb.The thorns can be very hard to find.Remove tube and rub fingers inside of tire,you will feel a slight nub that will be it .Hard to even see with the eye, especially mine.

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    A might bewildered... Dudelsack's Avatar
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    If I can change a flat, anyone can.

    Hint #1 - Hot young babes tend to get flat tires and they usually don't know how to change them. You can be a Knight in Shining Armor for them. You can also help old goats, too. If you want.

    Hint #2 - I run Schwalbe Marathon Plus's. Heavy slow-rolling tires that are "bullet-proof (definition of a bullet proof tire: one that hasn't flatted on me yet)". If you hate flats and are in no rush to get anywhere, you might want to check them out.

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    What??? Only 2 wheels? jimmuller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shamrock View Post
    The Small Block Eight is a good choice.
    Wow. There was a time when the phrase "small block 8" referred to a Chevy 327 or similar.
    Real cyclists use toe clips.
    jimmuller

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    Quote Originally Posted by TexLex100 View Post
    Today I went to my pre-dawn daily short ride. Ten minutes into it I noticed the bike to be acting weird and becoming very heavy. I checked and my rear wheel was flat. The fact that it was pitch dark in the trail, and the fact that I never changed a tire before, led me me to concede. Bummer!
    I am sorry for your having the flat but it was actually a good thing for me. I haven't started riding yet (December 25 or 26 is target date....when Santa delivers the bicycle in my garage) and have been concerned about two things, falling and flats. I will strive to avoid the former but am sure the latter will happen. And I have no idea how to change a flat on today's bicycles. That rear wheel scares me with all the drive train back there (my bikes used for newspaper routes didn't have all that fancy stuff like gears). But your bad luck was my good luck because DnvrFox said:

    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
    There are Youtube videos on changing tires and fixing flats
    Which I had not even thought of. First trip to the LBS after Christmas I will gift myself a "kit" for fixing flats and watch the videos first. But I do have a question in getting the kit together. What kind of PSI can you reach with the CO2 devices?

    Thanks to both of you.
    The Old Sarge

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    OK folks so here is a quick update. I left the bike at the LBS yesterday and I asked him to also chnge the tires so something smoother and with more puncture resistance, so I ended up with a new pairs of Bontrager all weather hard case, 700x32, which claim to have three levels of puncture protection. I picked it up after work today so couldn't see the guy changing the tire. the evening guy didn't replace it so he could not tell me what was the issue. I hope this was a good decision!

    They actually have tire fixing clinics that I will go attend for free.

    Old sarge, I am equally scared of falling down, especially when I see some of the pictures posted in this newsgroup, and especially since I have had multiple back surgeries and bad bones and joints. Next to it is my scare of traffic! However, I try not to think about it and hope that all would turn up well at the end.

    Will let you know how I liked the tires after my next ride. Cheers.

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    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TexLex100 View Post
    . Next to it is my scare of traffic! However, I try not to think about it and hope that all would turn up well at the end.

    Will let you know how I liked the tires after my next ride. Cheers.
    There are courses and books on cycling more safely in traffic. "Vehicular Cycling" SOme of this is counter-intuitive to how a person who is "scared" might ride, and they are well worth reading. Some simple things are avoiding "dooring" and the most common accident, a right hook by a car (passing you and turning right into your traffic right of way). Increasing your visibility to drivers, being aware of sun glare into driver's eyes, etc. ALso, cars often underestimate the speed of a bicycle. and "Taking the lane" when appropriate. There is also a forum on BFN on Safety and Advocacy. It is an intense and sometimes divisive forum, but you might check in there.

    As far as falling, it is one of my least fears. I have only fallen a couple of times in 14 years and tens of thousands of miles. The crash pictures you see are rare and usually from someone going rather fast - though not always.

    I use a Topeak "Road Morph" pump - one on each road bike - and it even has a pressure gauge. It will easily get to 120 psi. Around here, I can get a flat every week or so during "goathead" season. I got 5 goatheads last week on one ride.
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 12-11-12 at 05:33 PM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

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