Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

The Craft of Cycling: Tire Wiping

General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

The Craft of Cycling: Tire Wiping

Old 04-22-03, 11:45 AM
  #1  
hayneda
Carfree Retro Grouch
Thread Starter
 
hayneda's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Redneckia
Posts: 326
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The Craft of Cycling: Tire Wiping

The following is one in a series of articles on the Craft of Cycling written for my local cycling club newsletter. I thought some might like to see it here.

I have been an active cyclist for going on 25 years and in that time Iíve seen a lot of changes for the better. But, over the past 10 years or so, Iíve become aware of how poorly cycling knowledge is passed down. Iím not talking about how to ride a bike, but how ride a bike effectively, with efficiency and safety. I see things that long-time, experienced cyclists assume as common knowledge, which is not; and I see common misconceptions and old wivesí tales that continue to persist. Cycling clubs are the right mechanism for the transfer of cycling knowledge, but most have done less than a satisfactory job of instructing new and novice riders on the finer points of cycling.

Since education [of cyclists] is one of the tenets of advocacy (unfortunately, an often overlooked one), as part of my role as the clubís chief advocate I plan to write a series of newsletter articles under the above title to address some of these. I donít claim to be the source of knowledge for all things bike, but I do have more than the average amount of experience and history in cycling. I also donít intend for this to be a Ďhow to ride faster/farther/etc.,í but how to get more out of road cycling for sport or transportation.

I would like to address the ritual of tire wiping. As a young racer, I was taught to wipe tires after inadvertently riding through glass. You see folks doing it on club rides all the time. Reaching down with gloved hand in an attempt to dislodge any glass that may have become attached to the tire before it can work its way in and cause a puncture. This is basically wrong, yet this ritual continues to be passed down.

Tire wiping is wrong for two reasons. First, rubbing a rotating tire with your hand is not the safest thing to be doing. While it is not hard to learn to do it relatively safely, it can and does cause accidents. Particularly, getting your hand jammed between the rear wheel and seat tube can lock the rear wheel and crush your hand. An unexpected bump or jolt is all it takes. Of course, contact with the front wheel behind the forks would be catastrophic, as you would discover after flying over the handlebars.

The second and most important reason tire wiping is wrong is simply because it does not work. Why? At a cruising speed of 20 mph, your 700c wheels are rotating at just over 4 times per second! By the time you see the glass, react and reach for the tire, they have already probably rotated around 8 to10 times or more. And then you still have to reach for the second wheel. Any glass that could have been dislodged by your glove is already well embedded.

I havenít wiped a tire in at least fifteen years, and Iíve not noticed any increase in flats. In fact, given the advances in tires, I would guess that I have only 1/4 the flats that I did 20 years ago. My daily commute carries me over a glass and debris strewn shoulder of a busy 4-lane road. I ride on 25 or 28c tires and I average only a couple of flats a year and, in the past two years, Iíve only had one flat that was due to glass. So give your gloves a break and retire this old useless ritual.

Davy
hayneda is offline  
Old 04-22-03, 03:18 PM
  #2  
hillyman 
Giddy Up
 
hillyman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Truckin all 48 States
Posts: 1,488

Bikes: MONTAGUE X70

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 157 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 45 Times in 35 Posts
I bet you don't take both hands off the handlebars either
__________________
www.hillyhundred.org
hillyman is offline  
Old 04-22-03, 03:31 PM
  #3  
hayneda
Carfree Retro Grouch
Thread Starter
 
hayneda's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Redneckia
Posts: 326
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally posted by hillyman
I bet you don't take both hands off the handlebars either
Actually I do that quite often, especially when eating a sandwich during long rando rides.

Dave
hayneda is offline  
Old 04-22-03, 04:41 PM
  #4  
John E
feros ferio
 
John E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: www.ci.encinitas.ca.us
Posts: 19,444

Bikes: 1959 & 1960 Capo; 1982 Bianchi; 1988 Schwinn KOM-10;

Mentioned: 31 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 708 Post(s)
Liked 33 Times in 31 Posts
How many folks out there remember tyre scrapers / savers, which mounted on the brake bolt?
__________________
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324
Capo: 1960 Sieger (2), S/N 42624, 42597
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1982 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
John E is offline  
Old 04-22-03, 05:47 PM
  #5  
johndoug
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 52
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally posted by John E
How many folks out there remember tyre scrapers / savers, which mounted on the brake bolt?
I was just going to mention them, but I was not sure what they were called.
johndoug is offline  
Old 04-22-03, 05:57 PM
  #6  
bikeman
Lovin' my Fixie
 
bikeman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Euclid, Ohio, USA (Near the Great Lake Erie)
Posts: 303

Bikes: Litespeed Classic, C-Dale MT1000, 80's Trek 770, 2005 Raleigh Rush Hour Pro, Fixed

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally posted by John E
How many folks out there remember tyre scrapers / savers, which mounted on the brake bolt?
I had a pair in a box in the garage not that long ago until I finally cleaned them out. I used them back in the 80's and it didn't seem to make any difference. Mostly mental I think.

I agree the tire wiping technique is unnecessary. It is dangerous and I must admit to doing it myself almost unconciously. Very old habits are hard to break. Another topic of caution is I remember a friend doing a similar thing and he reached down to adjust the computer magnet on the fork that had slipped and almost took the tip of his finger off in the spokes when his finger got too close - very bloody and nasty cut along with a bruise. He should have stopped, but was worried about getting dropped on the ride. We would have waited for him. Better than amputation of a body part!
bikeman is offline  
Old 04-22-03, 06:20 PM
  #7  
RacerX
Senior Member
 
RacerX's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Left Coast
Posts: 1,717
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
that's good to know. But what about the junk that's stuck to the side of the tire if you go through some debris. It may puncture when you turn and lean over?
I'll stop rubbing the tire and save my gloves though. Besides, I wipe my nose and end up with a dirt mark on my nose from the glove so it also has another benefit for me!
RacerX is offline  
Old 04-22-03, 11:37 PM
  #8  
Merriwether
Banned.
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 616
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I didn't think anyone did this anymore, but it's a good thing to mention.

There is a lot of mythology in cycling. Frame weight, the importance of frame materials, the effects of things like carbon forks, etc. Tire wiping is one more thing.
Merriwether is offline  
Old 04-23-03, 12:06 AM
  #9  
Dutchy
We drive on the left.
 
Dutchy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 1,096
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Tyre wiping is not something I have ever done, but it does sound like a recipe for disaster. Is there a chance the glass could pierce the glove and embed in your hand?

CHEERS.

Mark
Dutchy is offline  
Old 04-23-03, 03:24 AM
  #10  
MichaelW
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: England
Posts: 12,949
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Many modern gloves are made from more delicate synthetic materials than old-fashioned leather crochet-backed ones, so the glass would probably rip them. Does anyone still use these old style gloves?, esp the ones with knuckle holes, so you can write EDDIE MERCX on your knuckles with a biro.
MichaelW is offline  
Old 04-23-03, 08:11 AM
  #11  
closetbiker
Senior Member
 
closetbiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 9,599
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally posted by MichaelW
Many modern gloves are made from more delicate synthetic materials than old-fashioned leather crochet-backed ones, so the glass would probably rip them. Does anyone still use these old style gloves?, esp the ones with knuckle holes, so you can write EDDIE MERCX on your knuckles with a biro.
I still manage to find the old ones. They're great!

I also thought about the debris cutting through the glove. I wipe once in a while (sometimes the embedded debris is on the side of the tire and it can be wiped off) but have always worried about that.
closetbiker is offline  
Old 04-23-03, 02:18 PM
  #12  
soda
demon speeder
 
soda's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 449

Bikes: commuter: Kona Fire Mountain Road: Mongoose Pro Bosberg

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I do it but I don't have any proof that it does/doesn't work. When I commute to work (Kona Firemountain... a cross bike), I use my gloved hand for the front and the top of my left shoe for the back (if you can imagine how I do that--shoestrings are not a problem). When on road rides I don't do it as often but I use my hands for both the front and back. Admittedly, you are right about the dangerous part. I have caught my hand in the back between the wheel and the seat tube. Therefore, I do the back tire much less often than the front. I don't do it but maybe once every two rides and only after I think that I have run through some debris. I've never had a piece of glass cut through my gloves and I don't worry about getting my nose dirty because I don't wipe my nose with the bottom of my glove.

My honest (superstitious?) opinion is that it does work but only for those small pieces of glass. The larger ones will do the damage instantly or are to big to be picked up by the tire it they are off center. But most of my commuter flats do not come from glass. It's those short (1-2mm) pieces of thin metal wire that give me the most flats. These do not dig themselves into the tire instantaneously and I believe that by wiping the tire I can remove these since they most often are still sticking out until they work themselves comletely into the tire. These things get into your tire and give you a flat in a couple of days. So by rubbing the tire I do believe that I am doing some good by removing these pieces of wire.
soda is offline  
Old 04-23-03, 06:46 PM
  #13  
DieselDan
Senior Member
 
DieselDan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Beaufort, South Carolina, USA and surrounding islands.
Posts: 8,522

Bikes: Cannondale R500, Motobecane Messenger

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Some tires these days come with kevlar belts that help prevent flats. Tire wiping never really seemed to make much sense to me.
DieselDan is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
mikeybikes
Mountain - Plains
4
06-30-11 07:47 PM
tcashin
Bicycle Mechanics
6
07-19-07 11:24 AM
centexwoody
Fifty Plus (50+)
9
09-17-06 09:59 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.