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Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

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Old 09-19-06, 12:45 PM   #1
tkatzir
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Finding Tube Leak on a Randonnee

Hi,

There's a good thread going on in the Bicycle Mechanics forum
Finding tube leak

I'd like to know your ideas (and experience) on how to find a leak in the tube during a randonnee, at night, in the rain, after a few hundred km's...

Until now, luckily, all my flats didn't stop me from riding (none was during a randonnee.)
They were slow leaks, and didn't prevent me from getting home, and patching them calmly.

Tal.
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Old 09-19-06, 01:30 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by tkatzir
Hi,

There's a good thread going on in the Bicycle Mechanics forum
Finding tube leak

I'd like to know your ideas (and experience) on how to find a leak in the tube during a randonnee, at night, in the rain, after a few hundred km's...

Until now, luckily, all my flats didn't stop me from riding (none was during a randonnee.)
They were slow leaks, and didn't prevent me from getting home, and patching them calmly.

Tal.
I've ridden about 4km on entirely deflated front or rear tyres. Not ideal, but it is surprising how far you can go to get shelter (in this case, my office) to do the repair job. You do have to be careful not to dent the rims, of course. But tubes and tyres didn't really suffer...

The last time was a rear flat, and I rode 5km -- the first 3 on a seal surface, then the last 2 on a rough gravel road... at night. The tyre was cactus with split sidewalls, but it was 15 years old and was fitted to the bike when I collected it from the rubbish dump.

Finding shelter is a good thing. Having a good head torch is a good thing. Having several spare tubes in your kit is a good thing. Patience in finding the cause of the puncture before inserting a new tube is a good thing. Having a pump that will inflate to your preferred riding pressure is a good thing.

NOT finding the original cause of the puncture is a bad thing. Having a tube of cement that has evaporated all its solvent is a bad thing. Leaving your patch kit at home and having gone through all your spare tubes is a disastrous thing.

Other than that, read my tip in the thread you quoted.

Last edited by Rowan; 09-19-06 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 09-20-06, 09:46 AM   #3
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why would you try and patch them? it's much easier to change them with a spare tube. i always carry two extra tubes and a patch kit. i only use the patch kit after i've used the spare tubes and patch tubes at home where i seem to have a better success rate at getting the patch to work. on the road i always seem to hurry and the patch doesn't always work.
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Old 09-20-06, 10:52 AM   #4
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It is certainly possible to have run out of spare tubes in the middle of the night in the rain. So, patching a tube in these conditions may be required. The difficulties that need to be overcome are finding the leak on the side of the road in the dark and in the rain, and doing so while fatigued and not having the best judgement.

Finding the leak in the dark is made much easier if you have a helmet mounted LED light to aid in visibility. If it's raining, you may have an advantage of being able to find a puddle of water to use to spot the air escaping from the tube.

Combating fatigue is the harder part as lack of sleep makes everything difficult. It's easy to forget to check for debris in the tire, or not to get the tire bead seated correctly. In such case, try to enlist help from another rider. Two foggy brains are better than one.

One preventative is to use past experience to guide you on how many spare tubes to bring based on the length of the ride. The longer the ride, the more spares. And, if you do have a flat, take a few minutes at the next control, where conditions are more favorable, to patch the bad tube so it's ready for the next flat.
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Old 09-20-06, 11:32 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by supcom
Combating fatigue is the harder part as lack of sleep makes everything difficult. It's easy to forget to check for debris in the tire, or not to get the tire bead seated correctly. In such case, try to enlist help from another rider. Two foggy brains are better than one.
And double check you haven't left anything important lying on the ground when you pack up and leave. Like a pump.
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Old 09-20-06, 11:55 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by zzzwillzzz
why would you try and patch them? it's much easier to change them with a spare tube. i always carry two extra tubes and a patch kit. i only use the patch kit after i've used the spare tubes and patch tubes at home where i seem to have a better success rate at getting the patch to work. on the road i always seem to hurry and the patch doesn't always work.
Had 14 flats one double century ride. Fortunately it is a lot easier to carry 14 patches than 14 tubes.

Heres the ride report- (and yes I did check the tire each time for the cause of the flat, the problem was a non-kevlar spare tire and the biggest rain in months having washed all the goatheads out into the road.)


http://www.lamanchadesign.com/Desert_mtn_Tour.htm
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Old 09-21-06, 04:57 AM   #7
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I got some good ideas from this thread, thanks.

In a Brevet 200 I did earlier this year, one of the riders had 7 (seven) flats!
I only carry 2 spare tubes, and hope for the best.

I carry a heavy (~300 grams) pump, but one I'm sure will inflate my tires. It also has a gauge, so I know not to stop pumping too early.

Tal.
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