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Who takes a spare . . . ?

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View Poll Results: Do you take a spare tire on tour?
I always take a spare tire.
12
21.05%
I never take a spare tire.
27
47.37%
I only take a spare tire on tours over 2 weeks.
18
31.58%
Voters: 57. You may not vote on this poll

Who takes a spare . . . ?

Old 07-20-10, 05:08 PM
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Who takes a spare . . . ?

Who takes a spare tire? On our first 2-week tour, I'm considering taking the lightest folding spare tire that I know will do the job, with its own tube. Adds 12 oz. I usually take a spare tire on long brevets, but I'm trying to be very weight sensitive on this tour.

Our mounted tires will be new and have anti-cut fabric on tread and sidewalls. We'll never be that far from a town.

While we're on the subject, what other spares do you think are must-haves?
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Old 07-20-10, 05:26 PM
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My tours often mix paved roads with gravel and dirt roads so I bring two off-road tires as "spares". Sometimes it is just really nice to get away from the traffic for a while.
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Old 07-20-10, 06:53 PM
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After having the bead tear away from the sidewall on a relatively new (~750mi?) tire, I always carry a spare tire on tour. Then again, I tend to take spares or repair parts for anything that will completely disable the bicycle should it fail.
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Old 07-20-10, 07:29 PM
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I voted never, though I have never gone on a tour for more than a week and a half. To me, the biggest factor on whether to carry a spare is proximity to bicycle services. I have never been on a tour that took me more than 50 or so miles from a bike shop or 100 miles from someone I knew. I figure I can always hitchhike, walk, call a friend, or take a bus/train to the nearest shop. It depends on your disposition and how adverse you are to being stuck for a day.
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Old 07-20-10, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by fotooutdoors
I figure I can always hitchhike, walk, call a friend, or take a bus/train to the nearest shop. It depends on your disposition and how adverse you are to being stuck for a day.
Quality tires rarely fail to the point that a boot/duct tape won't fix well enough to get you to a bike shop. Piece of mind not worth the weight and space penalty. For me, it's just one of the things I approach with the It'll All Work Out philosophy. So far it has.

Reminds me of the time I lost a spoke. I did have a temporary fiber that was holding good enough, but decided to hitch a bit anyway to get me closer to the nearest shop. First experience with a broken spoke and hitching on tour. Offered an older gentleman $10 to carry me 20 miles down the road and drop me off. The drop point came and went. "That's really as far as i need you to haul me" I intoned. "Well shoot" he replied. "I ain't got nothing else to do. Why don't we just go on to Amarillo. I'll take you right to the bike shop." 40 miles later, we were at the shop, bout the time they opened.
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Old 07-20-10, 07:56 PM
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It would have to be a helluva lot longer than 2 weeks for me to consider bringing a spare tire. However, I always have a spare tube with me, even for riding around town. I also have a patch kit and tire irons. OTOH, tires with kevlar have practically eliminated flats for me. I honestly can't recall my last one.
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Old 07-20-10, 08:25 PM
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The basic reality is it isn't how long a tour you go on that determines whether you carry spares. Unlees you are crossing Mars, break downs can be just about as inconvenient whether they happen on a one day trip or a month trip. On an overnighter, spending all the time chasing spares, could totally blow your tour or even make you miss work. On really long tours I can get a little sensitive to disaster after weeks on the road, and I don't want anything to interfere with the trip.

For me carryins some replacements comes down to two things:

1) Can you conceive of needing the item;

2) Are you going to be any distance from a resupply point.


On the first people who go through some big deal, like a broken axle, or spoke problem or tire failures feel the need for whatever it is. I had a new Schwalbe touring tire blow up on day 15 of my tour (so you should be fine). I hit a rock on the path, and it disintegrated laterally and was so offset it wouldn't fit the brakes or the stays. Happened just outside a small town, but the only 700c tire I could get would only take 50 pounds. I never found a resupply for tires until I got back to my LBS.

The idea that one is never more than 50 miles from resupply doesn't cut it for me since I don't have a car to jump into to run over and pick up a spare. Self-sufficiency is the name of the game, loosing a day will seem like a really bad trade if it ever happens. I normally want to make decent mielages in a day so even loosing a morning to looking for stuff is not what I want to be doing.

I do pack really light for touring, so I fully believe in the idea of making careful decisions about stuff. I carry rather little in the spares and tools department and my gear is milled and lathed to the nth degree to make it tour ready and durable. But for me I'm not returning to the torn up tire blues any time soon. For me the other option is to go to a much heavier tire, and I would rather carry the weight in my pack.
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Old 07-20-10, 08:52 PM
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I started to carry a spare about 3 years ago when we travelled around Europe over 4 months. I found it very difficult to find a spare puncture resistant tyre of the right size for several weeks so a spare was peace of mind. Since then, I have continued to carry one. Last time I used it was when I got a puncture where I couldn't find the hole in the tube so I couldn't check out the tyre in the right spot to ensure there was no sharp object still there. I simply put on a spare tube and tyre and carried on, knowing that it was good.
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Old 07-20-10, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
Our mounted tires will be new and have anti-cut fabric on tread and sidewalls. We'll never be that far from a town.
I think you just answered your own question...why bother? Find an online source of tires with overnight shipping or leave a spare with a friend who can ship it to you if needed. I only carry a spare when needed....ie. a replacement is not easily available and my tour would be over.

Your worst case is stay overnight at a hotel/B&B waiting for spare...enjoy hot tub and go out for a nice dinner while the spare is shipped. Most likely you won't have tire issues.
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Old 07-20-10, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by vik
Your worst case is stay overnight at a hotel/B&B waiting for spare...enjoy hot tub and go out for a nice dinner while the spare is shipped. Most likely you won't have tire issues.
I expect the worst case is that you spend the majority of one day walking or trying to find someone willing to transport you and your fully-loaded bike back to an area where you can make a cell phone call. You've probably missed the overnight deadline that day, so your tire gets shipped the following day, and arrives the day after that. If you're on a week-long tour, losing the better part of three days would suck a lot worse than carrying an extra 300g spare tire...
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Old 07-20-10, 10:19 PM
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buy good tires, and don't worry unless going into a wilderness or very rural situation or a different country etc.

Id only carry a spare tire if I was using lightweight chintsy tires for speed (ie maybe a brevet or something). I cant imagine needing a spare with my schwalbes... thats the point.
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Old 07-21-10, 07:19 AM
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If I was riding 26" tires, I wouldn't carry a spare. Riding 700c, I will, in the future. They can be hard to find, even in the US.

https://tourdedavid.blogspot.com/2010...layton-nm.html
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Old 07-21-10, 08:33 AM
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Everybody's got their own comfort levels. I'm touring these days on a folding bike with 20" x 1.5" Schwalbe Marathon tires with kevlar. Great tires. I don't carry spare tires, and I've toured with this bike and this brand of tires in developing countries, also on unpaved trails in developed countries, as well as more common touring destinations on paved roads. I think that catastrophic failures of other parts of the bike besides the tires are far more likely--though still unlikely--and it's not practical to carry a spare of everything. I once had a catastrophic breakdown of a freewheel. I was going up a mountain pass when this happened. Another time a decaying wooden plank on a bridge swallowed my front wheel, destroying the rim. I was in the middle of nowhere. Neither incident was disastrous to my tour. I simply don't worry about unpredictable events.
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Old 07-21-10, 08:57 AM
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In 50+ years of riding a bike I have never had a tire fail badly enough that it couldn't be booted well enough to limp to the next town. A spare tire is heavy enough that I am not willing to carry one for what is probably a once in 500,000 to once in 1,000,000 mile event. I say buy decent tires and if one fails use a boot to patch it if necessary. Worst case maybe stitch it and use a boot.
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Old 07-21-10, 09:17 AM
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If I was going round the world, in Asia or Africa, I'd carry a spare tyre, as well as maybe even a spare derailleur but in Europe, America, Oz etc I don't bother...
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Old 07-21-10, 09:31 AM
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My answer doesn't quite fit the poll choices. I never take a spare when touring on my 700c touring bike. Figure I can always make do somehow to get to the next place that sells tires. But I do carry a spare when using my Bike Friday with 451-size tires. Those are pretty hard to find so I'd probably have to have them overnighted out from somewhere and it would be a serious inconvenience. They're also much smaller tires - I don't bother with the folding bead type since folding a wire bead into three loops lets me put the spare tire into one of the small outside pockets of my panniers.
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Old 07-21-10, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by sstorkel
I expect the worst case is that you spend the majority of one day walking or trying to find someone willing to transport you and your fully-loaded bike back to an area where you can make a cell phone call. You've probably missed the overnight deadline that day, so your tire gets shipped the following day, and arrives the day after that. If you're on a week-long tour, losing the better part of three days would suck a lot worse than carrying an extra 300g spare tire...
Unlikely...unless you are in the far north if you are on a road there are regular cars...heck on forest service roads I've toured on there were enough vehicles I wouldn't have been stranded all day. The OP said they would not be far from a town during the tour so they'd have cell coverage and could get that tire shipped 5 mins after needing it. Towns nearby also = cars/trucks so a ride won't be a huge issue...assuming you even need a ride...chances are the damaged tire can be limped into the nearest town without a lift.

I read a great quote once about people that packed too much when traveling..."...we take our insecurities with us..."
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Old 07-21-10, 10:27 AM
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Rather than carry parts and tools to address every possible problem, I carry stuff for more likely problems. For unexpected difficulties I'll use my thumb (hitchhike) to get to civilization for a fix.

On top of that, I've never had a torn tire in 40 years of cycling. I make sure I have good tires that aren't too old. I haven't even gotten a flat on my last four tours (except one on the Bob Trailer I brought on one tour.)
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Old 07-21-10, 10:47 AM
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Hmm, interesting and timely poll, thanks! I'm leaving on a week tour this friday and was seriously considering taking a spare tire. Reconsidering now..
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Old 07-21-10, 10:58 AM
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Torn tire is super rare.... the most common cause is your brakes doing damage to the bead/sidewalls. if you have disc brakes this obviously isn't an issue, and if you check your rim pad setup periodically this is another non-issue. Back in the '80s when undermounted roller cam brakes were in vouge this cuased many a tire's destruction as the brake pads would wear closer and closer to the tire. I have a vintage bike with this roller cam and blew a tire. Otherwise unless you are riding thousands and thousands of KM I would not take a tire.

You are far more likely to brake derailleurs, chains, etc and obviously you arent going to bring spare derailliuers and chains. Just bring the things that could fix them like duct tape and chain tool/link.
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Old 07-21-10, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by mercator
Hmm, interesting and timely poll, thanks! I'm leaving on a week tour this friday and was seriously considering taking a spare tire. Reconsidering now..
New tires before you leave are always good for peace of mind
The chances of a catastrophic tire failure with new tires in the first week of a paved road tour must be slim to none (unless there's a rare manufacturing fault of course...)

Have a great tour!

Last edited by imi; 07-21-10 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 07-21-10, 11:48 AM
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I always carry a spare tire, that's why I started cycling again in order to get rid of it.
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Old 07-21-10, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Amheirchion
I always carry a spare tire, that's why I started cycling again in order to get rid of it.
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Old 07-21-10, 11:51 AM
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You don't even want to see what we are carrying with us right now... Right now we have SEVEN spare tires with us!

We didn't carry a spare for a long time in the USA, but then one tire blew out in the middle of nowhere. It was a HUGE hassle to get it replaced. Then we started carrying one spare.

Now, on this trip from Alaska to Argentina, we know we can't get replacements easily at all. A blow-out could easily cost us a couple of months and hundreds of dollars in postage and customs fees - so we make sure we have spares for all bikes.

Why carry seven spares for only three bikes, you ask?? I don't know. We figure we will have to replace most of our tires at some point between here and Tierra del Fuego, so need those with us. Plus, we expected our current tires to be wasted by the time we got here so had some to put on - but they are still going strong. We're debating on whether to just take these ones off and replace them with new ones now or wait until they're trashed...
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Old 07-21-10, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by nancy sv
You don't even want to see what we are carrying with us right now... Right now we have SEVEN spare tires with us!

We didn't carry a spare for a long time in the USA, but then one tire blew out in the middle of nowhere. It was a HUGE hassle to get it replaced. Then we started carrying one spare.

Now, on this trip from Alaska to Argentina, we know we can't get replacements easily at all. A blow-out could easily cost us a couple of months and hundreds of dollars in postage and customs fees - so we make sure we have spares for all bikes.

Why carry seven spares for only three bikes, you ask?? I don't know. We figure we will have to replace most of our tires at some point between here and Tierra del Fuego, so need those with us. Plus, we expected our current tires to be wasted by the time we got here so had some to put on - but they are still going strong. We're debating on whether to just take these ones off and replace them with new ones now or wait until they're trashed...
Nancy, how would this be different if you were using 26 inch wheel size?
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