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The Shot Heard 'Round the Office

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The Shot Heard 'Round the Office

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Old 02-18-09, 04:43 PM
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jimmyr
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The Shot Heard 'Round the Office

So....there I was sitting at my workstation yesterday mid-morning, merrily working away when what sounded like a pistol shot made everyone jump and a couple of the girls scream.

We all got up and started wandering around the building, trying to figure out what the sound was and where it came from. After a couple of minutes of head-scratching and theorizing, yours truly brilliantly discerned the answer through Holmes-ian powers of deduction:

"Somebody" had ridden their bike into work yesterday. The weather that morning was a few degrees below freezing. Before he began his morning commute, the culprit had pumped his new tubes up to the tire's pressure capacity. Upon arriving at the workplace, he brought his bicycle into the heated hallway where he habitually parks just outside the window in my office which looks out on said hallway. I theorized that the air in the tubes increased with the heat and caused a blow-out. A quick inspection found the rear tire of the subject's bike to not only be flat, but blown completely off the rim on one side. The front tire of the bicycle was so hard I was unable to push it in even a little bit with my thumb.

Somebody....not saying it was me or anything.....
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Old 02-18-09, 05:42 PM
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That is awesome. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your tire.

Do you keep your bike in the garage or outside?
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Old 02-18-09, 06:07 PM
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The warming up is not enough to do this without also having some other problem. The tire wasn't properly seated on the bead, or the tire was defective. Going from below freezing to room temp will only add 2 or 3 PSI, and tires are rated usually at least 50% below their bursting pressure.

It does sound like the tire was inflated way too far anyway, though.
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Old 02-18-09, 06:14 PM
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Dude, If I heard what I believed to be a gun shot at work, I would either go for my gun, the exit, or both. I would never wander around trying to figure out where it came from!!!
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Old 02-18-09, 06:32 PM
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That happened to me once too. My bike was sitting right outside my office and I was inside talking with someone when Boom! Because we had multiple listening posts, we were able to quickly pinpoint the source of the sound. The fact that the tire was completely flat was a clue not overlooked.
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Old 02-18-09, 06:40 PM
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Were the tires pumped up at room temperature. If so being inside at work returned them to the room temperature pressure. So no pressure gain.
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Old 02-18-09, 06:41 PM
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it's a pretty common sound in gas stations too.

A lot of people don't know how quick, tons of pressure travels through those hoses.
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Old 02-18-09, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Hot Potato View Post
Dude, If I heard what I believed to be a gun shot at work, I would either go for my gun, the exit, or both. I would never wander around trying to figure out where it came from!!!
That happened to me once about 25 years ago when I worked in the tire business in a "bad neighborhood" in Chicago (19th and Indiana). A kid brought his bike in and asked on the guys to put air in the tire, and it sounded like a shot when it exploded. Everything came to a halt then, and a few did think someone was shooting. Fortunately, no one shot back and the kid was happy after we replaced his tube.
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Old 02-18-09, 07:40 PM
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We had bike tires blow out in the building I used to work in, we kept them in a storeroom on the first floor. This building had a concrete foundation that was built over a big steam condensate return line. Every few years, the line would start leaking and sections of the floor would heat up- a few spots would get almost too hot to touch. My co-worker unknowingly left his bike over a hot spot on two different occasions and the loud bang nearly had everyone running for the door.
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Old 02-18-09, 08:17 PM
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I've had exploding tubes that I blew up below zero and they blew in a heated building. I promptly checked the pressure on the remaining tube and found it to be a few PSI higher than it was that morning: Nowhere near high enough to cause a burst. The culprit for me is a crappy tire that doesn't fit the rims right.

I ended up being called several times by the first floor. When I came down to fix it (cause they wouldn't quit calling) I found them all hovering around.
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Old 02-18-09, 08:25 PM
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I was flying from Europe to the US once and about 10 minutes into the flight there was a HUGE bang. The sterwardess were all over the place and the Sky Marshalls got up and were pacing up and down while everyone was ordered to stay seated. After 15 minutes or so nobody could figure anything out and all returned to normal.

Prior to landing the guy behind me gets in the overhead compartment and yells "Sh**" and pulls out a ruptured soccer ball.

I told him he probably ought to tell the aircrew and he did.

John
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Old 02-18-09, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
The warming up is not enough to do this without also having some other problem. The tire wasn't properly seated on the bead, or the tire was defective. Going from below freezing to room temp will only add 2 or 3 PSI, and tires are rated usually at least 50% below their bursting pressure.

It does sound like the tire was inflated way too far anyway, though.

It would be nice to blame the change in air temp but highly unlikely. More likely that putting a tire on a rim in below freezing temps means do it with frozen fingers, quick as you can, not too exact, probably not check the seating and pump it up and get out of there- but pay the penalty later when it just won't hold on the rim.
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Old 02-18-09, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by TrekJapan View Post
I was flying from Europe to the US once and about 10 minutes into the flight there was a HUGE bang. The sterwardess were all over the place and the Sky Marshalls got up and were pacing up and down while everyone was ordered to stay seated. After 15 minutes or so nobody could figure anything out and all returned to normal.

Prior to landing the guy behind me gets in the overhead compartment and yells "Sh**" and pulls out a ruptured soccer ball.

I told him he probably ought to tell the aircrew and he did.

John
I had a bag of Doritos 'explode' on an airplane (pre-9/11). Opened the overhead bin and everything inside the bin, including my fleece jacket, was covered in Doritos crumbs! I found out the cabins are pressurized to the equivalent of 8k-10k ft.
 
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Old 02-18-09, 09:26 PM
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I had this happen to me and blamed the temp change too. Turns out it was a gash in the sidewall that contributed.
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Old 02-18-09, 11:23 PM
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Last fall, I had a tire blow off the rim due to an incorrectly seated bead. I was using a Topeak Road Morph, so my ear was right next to it. My hearing took half an hour to recover. Now I wear ear plugs when I pump up tires that have just been installed.
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Old 02-19-09, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmyr View Post
"Somebody" had ridden their bike into work yesterday. The weather that morning was a few degrees below freezing. Before he began his morning commute, the culprit had pumped his new tubes up to the tire's pressure capacity.
The new tube was pinched under the bead when he installed it
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Old 02-19-09, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
The new tube was pinched under the bead when he installed it
OR the rim strip had slipped, exposing a spoke hole which sliced the tube, OR the tire had a defective bead which didn't hold - both of which are reasons I've had explosive blowouts on bikes I wasn't actually riding at the moment of the explosion.

The time that I pinched a tube on installation it didn't cause a blowout, the tube just wouldn't air up to pressure.
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Old 02-19-09, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmyr View Post
So....there I was sitting at my workstation yesterday mid-morning, merrily working away when what sounded like a pistol shot made everyone jump and a couple of the girls scream.

<SNIP>
This happened to me last year with a [email protected] Innova tire. The bead failed. The slight pressure change between 30F in the garage to 70F in the office was just enough to put it over the top. Ironic as it should have been under more load with my not so small or light 215 Lbs frame riding the bike on the not so smooth Buffalo roads.

When my tire blew the bike was sitting 10 ft behind me in my office. I heard an increadibly loud bang and some dust started to fall from the ceiling tiles. My co-worker and I just sat there in stunned silence for a second. My ears were ringing for a little while after that. I looked around and after a few seconds realized the front tire blew off the rim. What a bang. Thank goodness it happend late in the day and most of the staff was gone. Otherwise they might have put the school in lockdown... I would not have wanted to be responsible for such an event.

Upon closer inspection of the tire I noticed that the bead had failed. I could have gotten the tire replaced under warrentee. The Innova snow tire was back ordered at least 2 weeks, add in an other week for shipping from the west coast and it would have taken a better part of a month to get the tire replaced. Since it was January I could NOT do without a Winter tire. I bought a Nokia W106 from Peter White and had it in 1 day!!! That was just crazy normally NH takes at least 2 days UPS ground. The Nokians are MUCH better quality tire. So far no bead failures on the quality tire. The steel studs one the Innova were pretty much useless after 2 months of riding. The Carbite studs finished off the season and have been on all this season for a total run time of nearly 3 months and about 1000 miles and the studs look nearly as good as new.

Happy riding,
André
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Old 02-19-09, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by jimmyr View Post
The front tire of the bicycle was so hard I was unable to push it in even a little bit with my thumb.
That sounds pretty normal for a thin road tyre.
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Old 02-19-09, 02:32 PM
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It was actually the increase in temperature.

My old bike (Old Gray *******) has 27-inch cheap-cheap-cheap gumwalls on it that do need replacing. The max pressure on the sidwalls specifies 90 lbs. I pumped them up in my freezing garage to 90, and maybe a tad more. I had put in some new tubes with presta valves and the grommets to take up the room in the schrader valve holes. The tires were well seated on the rim, I can tell you. Also, when I realized what had happened, I let LOTS of air out of the front tire as it was so hard I couldn't believe it. Wish I would have had a gauge to know just how much was in there! My bad, but I thought it was funny. Always carry a new tube and a patch kit, so I rode home anyway.
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Old 02-19-09, 02:40 PM
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Oh, and I can add that the new tubes were installed in my toasty-warm kitchen the day before, so it wasn't a hurry-up job done with cold fingers. In addition, I believe that had I pinched a tube, or a rim strip had slid off, I would have lost a bit of pressure on the 20-minute ride in, instead of having a full-blown blow out and hour-and-a-half to two hours after I got to work, doncha think? Jeez....you guys are analytical...are you sure some of you aren't related to my wife???
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