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Old 05-12-10, 01:31 AM   #1
Yan 
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Crashed due to downhill pinch flat yesterday

I'm currently passing through Anhui Province in China, and am at the foot of Huangshan.

I got a front pinch flat while riding downhill on a poor road yesterday, and crashed at 35km/h. We'd been climbing on very bad roads for two days, so I'd lowered my tire pressure. The hole in the ground looked small enough to safely ride over, but then I heard a hiss and immediately lost it. I have road rash all over my right side and a bruised eye. My helmet saved my head and my gloves saved my palms. My front rim (split) and tire (bead seperated) are trashed. My aerobar was bent. The hooks on my rear right pannier snapped off.

After the crash I got patched up at a rural hospital down the road, ziptied my broken pannier to my rack, and then started to push my bike through the 20km before the day's destination. After an hour of pushing the road improved, so I straightened most of the dents in my front rim with an adjustible wrench, filed off some of the burrs, and trued it up as best as I could. Then I stuck a bunch of grass in the tire, and limped the rest of the way into town.

I'm stuck here and am waiting for a new wheel to be posted in from Shanghai. Total loss of equipment is about $350, plus $50 for the new front wheel (I have a bad feeling about it), plus whatever my new spare tire will cost when I pick it up in the next largest city.

I'll save the gory photos for another day.
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Old 05-12-10, 04:03 AM   #2
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I'm sorry for this to happen to you. Hopefully you will fully recover and this will go to your experience account without sequels.

Whenever we hear of someone who had an accident we instinctively compare notes. I don't wear a helmet, carry an adjustable spanner or a file. OTOH I never rush downhill and... aero bars, really!
Lessons for myself: quit being such a weight weenie and install that drag brake NOW!

May I ask which tires you had? How bad was the road so you had to under inflate them to climb (photos?).

Heal, enjoy the rest of your trip: China is such an incredible country!

Best.
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Old 05-12-10, 08:23 AM   #3
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Im glad you are OK, I hope you get back on your journey soon Yan.

Let this be a lesson to everybody reading: Tire quality is incredibly important, and tire pressures need to be carefully monitored. lowering pressures can be done in sand or very steep dirt. BUT DO NOT NEGLECT pumping your tires back up for the descent on the other side of a climb. If you run low pressures, use good tires and go slowly. This is something I learned mountain biking a number of years back with a similar outcome, except, add cactus...

I guess the upside is that by the time your wheel arrives, your roadrash should feel a bit better. Is the wheel 700c? can you give info about the difficulty of sourcing your parts in China?
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Old 05-12-10, 08:36 AM   #4
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Glad you are ok.. It could have been worse for sure. Heal up quick and get back on the road!
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Old 05-14-10, 04:08 AM   #5
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The tire was a 35mm Schwalbe Marathon Supreme. The road was a mixture of 30 year old asphalt, clay, fine gravel, and rocks. The road was in the process of being repaved, and the surface consisted of a mixture of the above conditions. The location at which I crashed had the 30 year old asphalt finish.

My wheels are 700c. I had to call several places in Shanghai before I found a shop that had them in stock. This size is rare in China, especially outside the road cycling market, where the wheels are too light for touring. All the shops I called were not fully aware of the lack of distinction between 29" and 700c. Finally I found a Giant store which had a set on one of their mountain bikes. It's a 32 spoke WTB rim on a department store level Shimano hub. I'll may ditch it at some point for another wheel.

I just learned today that the town I'm in is too small for the package to be delivered to. Tomorrow I need to ride those grass filled tires 70km to the city where the new wheel is waiting for me.
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Old 05-14-10, 04:43 AM   #6
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Hey Yan! Good to hear you weren't badly hurt! Hoist a glass of wine at your next layover and holler gan bei! (Man I hope I'm remembering that right!)
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Old 05-15-10, 01:10 AM   #7
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Yan, I use the Supreme also, here in the city. On tour I intend to try the Dureme which seem to have a better thread. In both cases the 'Snake Skin' walls are quite thin and offer little protection against pinch flats. Excellent tires otherwise but maybe we should think of something else if our traveling turn to become an expedition.

Give us some more news about how things turn up for you.

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Old 05-15-10, 01:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yan View Post
The tire was a 35mm Schwalbe Marathon Supreme. The road was a mixture of 30 year old asphalt, clay, fine gravel, and rocks. The road was in the process of being repaved, and the surface consisted of a mixture of the above conditions. The location at which I crashed had the 30 year old asphalt finish.

My wheels are 700c. I had to call several places in Shanghai before I found a shop that had them in stock. This size is rare in China, especially outside the road cycling market, where the wheels are too light for touring. All the shops I called were not fully aware of the lack of distinction between 29" and 700c. Finally I found a Giant store which had a set on one of their mountain bikes. It's a 32 spoke WTB rim on a department store level Shimano hub. I'll may ditch it at some point for another wheel.

I just learned today that the town I'm in is too small for the package to be delivered to. Tomorrow I need to ride those grass filled tires 70km to the city where the new wheel is waiting for me.
How do grass filled tires ride?
Does the grass become to crushed after a while needing replacement?
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Old 05-15-10, 05:02 AM   #9
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Wow, good thing you didn't get hurt seriously, waiting for a wheel is better than waiting for your bones to heal! I find descents a little scary, on unknown roads in particular. Good luck!
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Old 05-15-10, 05:14 AM   #10
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get well. I got a pinch flat with a 35mm Supreme on the rear wheel going over a sharp edge at low speed. I thought there was plenty of air in the tire, 75psi, but apparently not. Methinks this is one of those areas where a pressure gauge is essential when cutting the edge. 70km on grass filled front tire? Yikes! Take care.
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Old 05-21-10, 07:11 AM   #11
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I'm finally overnighting close to an internet cafe again. Here's an update:

Yes, the grass in the tire gets crushed after a while. I ended up riding the 65km after putting some more grass and a towel in my tire. It was very lumpy, but I hit 18km/h on some downhills and the tire didn't roll off, so it's fine for an emergency. My rim and tire were already trashed, so I didn't care about damaging them. You shouldn't do this with under regular circumstances. 65km took me 5 hours.

I picked up my new front wheel. It was under tensioned, slightly out of true, incorrectly dished, and packed in a cardboard box with no padding whatsoever. The box was crushed when I received it. Luckily the wheel was not damaged. I ended up completely redoing the tension myself. I had to go out to a bike shop for a new spoke wrench for this task. They use a larger nipple size here. The rim is drilled for shraeder. I put a bit of card around the presta valve on my tube to reinforce it a bit, and it's been fine since. My spare tire is a 32mm Vittoria Randonneur Pro. I have to pick up a new spare somewhere, but 700c is impossible to find outside large cities. Most bikes over here are 26" or 27".

I was very lucky to have crashed at a place I had planned on stopping two days at. In the end I only lost one day waiting for the new wheel. I've done about 450 kilometers on my new wheel now and it's been fine. I'm currently in central Jiangxi province. There's nothing interesting here. I reach Hengshan, a Taoist sacred mountain, next week, and a few days after that I'm in Guilin, famous for its landscapes.

The man two computers away from me just spat on the ground. We're indoors here. WTF...
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