Been there and had to ride 40km on a flat rear. Clincher tire. I double flatted, fixed front, then back went and i only had one spare tube and no patch kit.
No one else i knew around to get a ride home. I was not going to walk 40km. So i rode very slowly back, often walking down hills. Still i melted part of the rear rim. Ouch. Never again i hope. but sometimes u cant help it
You could fall off a cliff and die.
You could get lost and die.
You could hit a tree and die.
OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.
I rode 12 miles on a flat rear clincher tire once. Worst day of my life..
It was raining.....like seriously raining. I got a flat and within minutes was standing in 20 inches of water. My cell phone died and my pump decided to malfunction at the same time. It took me about 10 seconds to realize I either had to keep riding or freeze to death. Ruined the tube and tire, the rim had minor dings but am still using the wheel to this day (as a beater).
I've done it for maybe 3 miles before on the rear clincher.
1. The wheel I have on there is bombproof and could be ridden without a tire if there weren't any corners. Probably weighs over 2000 grams by itself.
2. The tire was **** anyways.
3. My rear is bolt on.
I've done it with a clincher tire about a mile from home on quiet suburban streets. I probably wouldn't do more than a mile or two on a flat clincher. The front tire is easier to limp home IMO since you can shift most of your weight to the rear tire to avoid damaging the rim. But only if you're going pretty slow and don't need to dodge anything.
I had to do 6 miles on a clincher once, that's how far it was to the nearest bus stop. Done a couple of one milers on clinchers and tubulars.
Rim never touched pavement for me, just had to take corners REALLY slowly.
1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple
The problem you run into with riding a flat clincher is the tube can double on itself near the valve stem. But, if you stop every few minutes to adjust that then you can easily ride a few miles out of necessity.
Just take it slow, out of the saddle and before you know it you'll be home. Rims and tires shouldn't be affected by this.
Tubulars not a problem.
I've done it a couple times in the days before cell phones. Definitely easier with tubulars. If the flat is in the rear, you'd want to stand up in order to take pressure of the rear wheel, but then the valve bulge builds and the rear wheel starts to bounce around against the pavement. IMO, it's better to ride with a flat on the front. In one instance, after getting a rear wheel flat on my last spare, I switched the tubes so the good tube was in the rear. That way you can lean back and pull up on the bars to alleviate downward force on the front rim--obviously taking turns as slow as possible. I wouldn't do it with a super expensive carbon wheel, especially not on a training ride.
'72 Cilo Pacer • '73 Speedwell Ti • '74 Nishiki Competition • '74 Peugeot UE-8 • '86 Look Bernard Hinault 753 • '86 Look KG86 • '89 Parkpre Team Road • '90ish Parkpre Team MTB
Avatar photo courtesy of jeffveloart.com, contact: contact: jeffnil8 (at) gmail.com.
Luckily (knock on wood) the worst I've had happen is a tire I should have retired a while back blew out spectacularly a couple miles from home. Tried a new tube but it just blew out in a couple hundred feet. Decided to not bother and I called the SAG wagon (wife with hatchback) and got a ride home. I've had really good luck with flats lately so I should shut the hell up though.
I did once, when I had a cracked rim. Figured the rim was toast anyway, and I was out of cell service, so just rolled downhill on it until I got a signal, then made The Call.
I've ridden on flats on a couple occasions (both times on clinchers). The first time it was raining and I only had a couple miles to go plus I knew the tire was already worn out so I figured I'd give it a try. I was surprised to find that the tire sidewall wasn't even damaged. The second time my tire repair kit had fallen off the bike (probably at a construction zone earlier on the ride). Had about 6 miles to get home so, given the previous good experience, I tried riding it flat again. This time it was a rear tire that was a pretty loose fit on that rim and the tube kept coming out and messing things up. Ended up removing the tube and riding home with just the tire on the rim. Worked fine and again there was no damage to either the tire or the rim.
In the circumstances you described, there is absolutely no way I would ride a flat tire on my nice road bike. I am almost certain there would be some damage to my rim and I’m too anal to allow for any damage. I carry a spare tube and a patch kit. If that doesn’t do the trick then the cell phone, if that doesn’t do the trick then I stop someone to make a call for me or ask that they make a call from somewhere there is a cell signal. I would walk 5 or 6 miles if necessary. If none of that worked and I couldn’t come up with some sort of temporary fix, then I would sacrifice the rim. I cannot even fathom why they did not accept any help and were willing to risk damaging their rims unless they recently won the mega millions in which case I would just have a chopper pace me.
I'd do it IF it's a rear tire, on smooth pavement and for a short distance (5 kms or less).
I got a second flat on a bike ride a few years ago. First flat was on the rear, second flat on the front. I only carry one spare tube and a patch kit. It was only 5 miles home and I was too tired to patch the second flat on the front. So there is a park next to a bike path that got me 95% of the way home, I rode the front flat on the grass beside the MUP all the way. It was easy and smooth, no damage at all to the rim or tire.
When would you HAVE to ride on a flat tire? It's an option, albeit probably a stupid decision to ride on one.
I always make sure to carry those junky stick on patches - just in case. They can hold pressure and last for miles, and unless the tube is cut to pieces, it's a better alternative to walking or ruining a rim.
'02 De Rosa Planet
'77 Cinelli SC
'79 Paris Sport (Dave Moulton) under construction
'10 Diamondback Sorrento