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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 01-07-14, 01:15 AM   #1
spectastic
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you've ever gotten a flat during winter?

I'm concerned about getting flats, especially in the pitch dark. We don't get snow around here, and the roads are just as bad as any day of the season.
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Old 01-07-14, 02:47 AM   #2
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My winter strategy was to stay within walking distance of shelter.

As for pitch dark ... that's what lights are for.
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Old 01-07-14, 07:01 PM   #3
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This is the sort of question that I'm afraid to answer in case I jinx myself.
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Old 01-07-14, 07:10 PM   #4
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Yes. PITA but not the end of the world. Being proficient at flat repair comes in handy when you face it on a cold rainy night alongside a busy road. Sucks temporarily but glory is forever. Camping headlamp is good. Forget patches, carry multiple tubes. Well... carry patches too because n+1 can happen. I use a pump but should go C02. But I'd also carry a pump because of n+1.
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Old 01-07-14, 07:20 PM   #5
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I was just thinking the other day that this would really suck if it were cold and dark out. I am a wuss when it comes to cold hands and fingers. Maybe the strategy would be to lock the bike up and find some temporary shelter at a convenience store like a Seven Eleven while you call someone or pull the wheel and fix the flat inside.
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Old 01-07-14, 08:55 PM   #6
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Its an annoyance, mainly because the tire being cold does not want to stretch and its really hard to pull the bead edge over the rim. Still can be done though. My main complaint is that puncture resistant armored skin tires and studded snow tires are rarely one and the same but they do exist if you look hard enough.

I realize that in the OPs particular case he probably doesn't need studded snow tires but in my case its almost a must have and I've often resorted to building my own studded snow tires in order to get both the level of puncture protection I desire and studs at the same time. I actually have more flats in the winter then summer, mainly because sharp stuff seems to be frozen into the ice and snow pack instead of being loose so it is more likely to actually get a good angle on the tire and dig into it. That and I think the snow and ice tend to collect more junk that otherwise gets pushed off the road edge due to the sweeping action of traffic during the summer months.

I actually totaled out a Bontrager Hard-Case-Plus LT3 converted to a studded snow tire last winter. Lost it to a patch of tough thick and strong glass shards frozen into the snow pack that looked like they were from a heavy pyrex cookware or similar about a 1/4+ thickness strong tough glass shards and they took out the double layer full bead to bead protection built into those hard-case-plus tires which is not an easy thing to do.

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Old 01-07-14, 09:43 PM   #7
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Yes.
It sucked. I carry co2, tubes and patches, and a lock. I ride with spare thin gloves so if it is out wet I don't get my riding gloves wet. I also carry chemical hand warmers.
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Old 01-07-14, 09:55 PM   #8
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Yea, it sucked for me, too. It was cold enough to make the plastic housing of my pump brittle, which then broke when I tried to use it. I was on my way to work, so I called a buddy at work who picked up me and my bike. Turns out I was knocked out of commission by a damn thumb tack! I bought a better pump afterwards, but I'm considering getting co2.

I love my stretch-band headlamp for projects around the house and garage. I never thought of carrying one in my bike bag for roadside repairs!
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Old 01-07-14, 10:11 PM   #9
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But seriously, if it's really going to be cold and you're going to be a ways from warmth, you want to carry an extra layer. A moth-eaten Goodwill wool sweater is perfect. When you shop Goodwill for life-saving clothes, go for for the best: Merino wool. $5 should get you a brilliantly stylish '80's sweater.

If you have to stop for a flat or dropped chain or anything, the first step is to put on the extra layer. Dragging the whole bike, or just a wheel, into a warm place is also a brilliant suggestion.
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Old 01-07-14, 10:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
Yes. PITA but not the end of the world. Being proficient at flat repair comes in handy when you face it on a cold rainy night alongside a busy road. Sucks temporarily but glory is forever.
I think that is important. If it takes you 30 mins to change a flat you will be miserable, if you can change it in 5 mins, not so much.

I actually had to change a flat yesterday when it was a touch below 0f, on a wheel set up tubeless as well and even then it was not too bad. I did have a first where the tube actually cracked when trying to partially inflate it with a co2 before installing it in the tire. I guess the combination of extreme cold outside mixed with the even more extreme cold of the co2 were just too much for the tube. Thankfully I had more than one spare tube and a regular pump as well.

For concerns with changing a flat in the dark, that is one selling point (among many others) for a helmet mounted light. It greatly simplifies problems like that.
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Old 01-07-14, 10:56 PM   #11
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I got this nail in my tire last winter. I had the good fortune of flatting right in front of a skating rink warming house. Went inside to fix it. Those studded tires were a BEAR to get off.

The important lesson I learned from this: I am not going to try to fix a flat in the winter, in the dark. I'll be calling SOMEBODY. Wife, taxi, whatever. With how sweat soaked I usually am, hypothermia could set in very quickly. I'd rather walk to keep moving and keep warm. I know I can walk for miles and stay warm if need be.
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Old 01-07-14, 11:16 PM   #12
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I had one flat while I was working as a messenger on a day when it was pushing -40C... it was right at the end of my day and I walked my work bike a block and locked it in the heated parkade and rode my other bike home.

When I returned the next day the bike was all warm and toasty and this made the repair uneventful... from experience I know how much fun it isn't to be working on tyres when it is below freezing.
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Old 01-08-14, 01:01 AM   #13
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thank god for schwalbe marathon then
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Old 01-08-14, 08:36 PM   #14
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I have had one flat and it was a miserable experience. The only thing that saved me is that I was carrying a bead jack. Granted, I broke the tool but only after I got the tire mounted. If I recall it was -10F that day and I was lucky to find a wind break to duck behind. I will say this for myself - my technique was flawless in terms of tire changing workflow. Under normal circumstances I can be pretty sloppy - not putting enough air in when I set up the tube, letting the tube slip out while I seat the tire, forgetting to loop the chain before I mount the wheel - those sorts of things. But on this occasions I did everything exactly right and only once. If I had made a mistake or had to re-do something I would have been in the danger zone in terms of cold exposure.

My winter tire kit is tubes, CO2, pump, tire levers x 3, bead jack. And a cell phone and a bus pass.
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Old 01-08-14, 10:20 PM   #15
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Like the boy scouts say - Be prepared. I carry lights, tire spoons, extra tubes, pump, patch kit, and insect repellant in the summer. I once had a flat while riding a dirt trail along the Mississippi River in the dead of night, in the middle of summer, literally miles from the nearest house. I've fixed flats along country roads at night in the winter.
I now use armored tired tires or Mr. Tuffies on all my bikes. But I've found out you can still get flats. You just have to calm down and have confidence in yourself and fix the dang thing.
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Old 01-08-14, 10:47 PM   #16
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In 20 F weather the co2 cartridges will ice up the small hole in the cartridge too fast to fill a tire. Put the inflator and the cartridge under your clothing to warm them up. Then fill the tire as fast as you can. Even then the tire does not fill much as the temperature changes how well the co2 expands.
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