First puncture of 2023

BANG! John in front didn’t see the pothole until it was too late. I hit it. Hard. The impact was so sudden and so jarring it ejected my bottle from it’s cage! Luckily I caught it with my cat-like reflexes and managed to hold my line. At first I thought I’d got away with it, but a few later…

PSSSST! Psst, psst, psst, psst…

Damn. Front flat. These wheels aren’t tubeless so I’m going to need to pull over.

Luckily the air was escaping relatively slowly. I managed to roll a further 100 metres to the T-junction and pull over on a wide bit of dirt verge. Let’s get this done!

Sam and John get a free masterclass in efficient roadside repair.

By the time the rest of the group had circled back to me I’d already removed front wheel, had the old tube out, and was unrolling the new one from my saddle bag. No messing about! As this was a pinch flat, I didn’t need to check for any sharp objects in the tyre, but ran my finger around the inside just to be sure. Then it was in with the new tube, re-seat the tyre by hand, and gas it up! Paul hardly had time to whip out his phone for the mandatory “everybody watch” photo!

Efficiency is key when fixing a flat on a group ride. If you’re on your own and the weather is nice, sure you can take your time, patch the tube, even inflate using a mini-pump if you carry one. When a group is waiting for you, speed is of the essence. Plus you don’t want to be fumbling about and causing delays with all those eyes on you. You’ll never live down at the café!

From rolling to a stop to clipping in again was under five minutes.

You may have spied in the first photo that I had a Latex tube in there. I’ve been trying a different brand and they seem far more durable. I only run them in these deeper 60mm Roval wheels. Later that evening I inspected the offending tube and found the “snake bite” double hole trademark of a pinch flat. Apparently you can patch Latex tubes with some success, but I’ve not ever tried. That might be a job for the weekend.

And in case you’re wondering, unfortunately no. These wheels aren’t tubeless compatible!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. I used to ride with someone who did a lot of solo touring, so I assumed he could fix his own flats. On group rides he was slow enough that he always got one of us to do it for him to minimize the time being eaten by mosquitos. Was he really that inept, or just crafty? I never knew for sure.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve often stood around while somebody has faffed for 15+ minutes trying to change a flat. Maybe you’re right, and it is a tactic to get somebody else to do it for them! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have successfully patched latex tires, but not all of them. These newer patches sometimes are a complete waste of time. I did buy a dozen small bicycle repair packs, REMA TIP TOP. here in the US. German made.This brand used to be standard with BMW motorcycles.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Rema Tip Top is the only brand I use. They also work as a tire boot. You can glue them (with the vulcanizing fluid in the patch kit) to the inside of a tire and they stay put, unlike dollar bills or other things that shift around.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Doug McNamee says:

    Man, pinch flats are the worst. I’d say that 90% of the time when I flat (which, thankfully, is not often). it is a pinch flat. Somehow, it makes me feel better if I flat because of debris. Pinch flats always make me feel like I did something wrong when inserted the tube. Nice post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. muddytweed says:

    I’m still experimenting with tubeless – I don’t really have a problem with tubes, I can repair them fairly quickly, but when you can’t find the source of the puncture (i.e. not pinch puncture), that can really be soul destroying when you’re under pressure.

    Liked by 1 person

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