Oh no! Not here! Not now!


What don’t you want to see when you stop for a coke and a Mars bar at the furthest point from home on a 130km (80mi) ride?


Here’s what.



Two bloody great cuts in my back tyre. 


I carry 2 spare tubes and a patch kit (hi Al), but the size of these cuts and their proximity to each other made me very nervous.  If they joined forces to punish me for some unrighted wrong, I doubt I would be able to sleeve the hole well enough to get home. 


And there’s only one person who hates the "call of shame" more than me.  You may refer to her as Mrs BIg Mike.  And when my misfortune messes with her carefully planned schedule you don’t want to be anywhere near her – or me.


Fortunately, I remembered enough of what I have learned during 16 years of dedicated husbanditude.  So in the interests of self-preservation I invoked my super-powers and rode home very gently without exerting any pressure on the back tyre. 


Alas, it burst – forcing me to walk the final 50 metres home.  I’m getting a shirt printed declaring myself the luckiest bastard alive.



“Luck is believing you’re lucky.” – Tennessee Williams


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12 Responses to Oh no! Not here! Not now!

  1. Tom Stormcrowe says:

    Mike, are you Irish descent? You certainly have the luck if the Irish, finding those cuts that far from home, but only having to walk the last 50 meters! ::GRIN::

  2. Unknown says:

    I have been suffering the worst tire luck lately. Punctured on the road bike on the way home from work, spare tube’s stem was too short to fit through my wheel: call of shame.
    I had another flat and the co2 cannister had gotten accidentally punctured: call of shame.
    I bought a new pair of armadillos and put them on and headed out for a ride. 2 minutes into the ride, the rear blew off the rim. I’ve repeated this experiment a couple times just to prove that if I air up the rear tire to the recommended maximum of 120 psi it’ll blow off the rim.
    In moab I had the equivalent of 20 flats on my mt bike. I got a really big hole in my tubeless rear tire and faught with it for 3 days.

  3. Tom Stormcrowe says:

    The Mrs just blew a tire on the Trike, sounded like a gunshot and split the tire casing open today on our ride! Ah well, the tire was only about 25 years old! I guess we can’t complain (Man, I wish I could get more of those Swedish tires! They last FOREVER!)

  4. uncadan8 says:

    All this talk of tire mishaps is bound to get somebody in trouble! See, it already got Mrs. Stormcrowe! SHHHH!

  5. Unknown says:

    By way of public service announcement for NooB riders… As a high torque pedal masher, I get bad flats. Here are a couple impromptu tire fix things that’ll help avoid flats and make your fix stick. 
    First, if you are on the ride and notice the splits, do what Mike did.  No hard accellerations, no cranking it through turns, and do your climbs seated, preferably in a low gear.  (My typical blowout is on a standing climb).  Developing aerobic spinning level climbing ability is a worthy training effort anyhow.
    Second, if you have blown a tube and you notice splits in the tire, and the blown tube has a big tear (pretty common if the blowout relates to a split in the tire carcass) you can use the tube as an impromptu boot.  Find a guard rail, or a sharp roadside rock; or maybe your multi-tool has a sharp-ish flathead screwdriver.  Cut out a section of inner tube that fits within the inside of the tire without extending past the bead, and which is well longer than the rip in the carcass.  Insert the piece of tube inside the tire, covering the tear, then install the tire & tube taking care not to disturb the boot.  If it’s not perfectly flat, don’t worry about it.  This should work until you get home. 
    If the hole in the tube is small, don’t wreck the tube.  Patch it, squeeze the air out, carefully fold it up, and put it in the baggy with talcum, using the rubber band off the original spare tube to compress it.  This will help the patch seat.  Use a dollar bill or some similar thing – a Clif Bar wrapper, perhaps – to boot the tire.  (Protocol varies for instant "scab" patches, I’ve put them straight back on the wheel with no difficulty).
    If you choose to use the enclosed nut on the tube’s stem, don’t overtighten it.  It will produce a tear in the tube near the stem that is un-fix-able. 
    Keep your spare tube in a zip loc baggy with some talcum powder or baby powder in it.  That makes it a lot easier to install, the rubber isn’t as sticky on the rim and tire innards. 
    Before you replace the tube, check the inside of the tire for debris.  The cloth backing on your riding gloves makes a good snag detector.  Check for rocks inside the tire and on the rim, you’ve had the thing laying on the road.   
    Uncle Al’s Easily Installed New Tube Protocol – blow a tiny bit of air into the tube so it takes shape.  Get one side of the tire bead on the rim.  Put the tube stem into the rim.  Working around, slip the tube up and onto the rim, under the tire.  Starting at the stem, slip the second bead of the tire on, taking care not to pinch the tube.  Work your way around with two hands doing the same thing, until it gets hard to get the tire on any further.  Press the tire on the ground to let all the air out.  Use your Steel Grip Hands (Tm) to put the tire the remainder of the way on.  Using your pump – you do have one, right? – inflate the tire up to 20 or 30 PSI, work your way around the tire "massaging the sidewalls to make sure it is seating, and there are no bulges or lumps (if there are lumps you need to release the air, take the tire partially off and look at the tube in that area to make sure it’s not bunched up or twisted).
    You can use a tire lever to take the tire off, but avoid using it at all costs for putting the tire back on, unless there’s just no other way.  
    Once you’ve checked for lumps & seating at 30 PSI – release the air.  Use the pump, and pump ‘er up to 60.  Do the same massaging and check to make sure you have the bead seated.  Now release the air, then re-inflate.  You can use your CO2 cannister now.  
    Two CO2 cannister hazards – (1) Sudden inflation sometimes causes a blowout of the new tube; (2) You can freeze the valve with CO2, so when the CO2 stops, take the filler head away from the valve carefully, and be mindful you may have some more filling to do.  Just wait until the valve thaws.
    Finally… always carry a pump unless you are in a race.  You need it for things like seating the bead properly (Botched!) and because CO2 cannisters, while wonderful, can go awry in oh-so-many ways, and usually wait until you are two hours out on a solo ride without your cellphone to do so.   

  6. BIg Mike In Oz says:

    Tom – there’s no luck involved, my bike loves me.  And I don’t know what’s worse, the loud crack of an exploding tyre or the nasty anticipation of a gentle psss psss psss psss when you’re rolling in a bunch.
    Botched – perhaps you wronged your bike in another life.  Check with Rocky about that karma thing.
    Dan – now you’ve put it out there.
    Al – remember the other use of the pump… for smacking dogs and rednecks.

  7. Unknown says:

    Sorry about the length of that, Mike.  Truth is, I put it in there for Botched, who seems to know as much about tire installation as I do about brevity.
    Shorter post for Botched:  talc when you install it.  Up to 30, massage, release air; up to 60, massage, release air; up to full inflation. 
    Ps.  It doesn’t need 125 PSI Botched, not at your weight.  Should run just fine at 105-110, smoother too, especially on rougher chipseal.  You may know biology, but as an impossibly hard riding fat man, I know blown tires, and tire/tube replacement.  I see blown tires more often than I see my own… um… toes.  Yeah, that’s it, toes.  

  8. BIg Mike In Oz says:

    Botched, don’t listen to a word Al says.  Here’s the correct process if you get a flat.
    1.  slam in the new tube
    2.  crank it straight up to 120psi
    3.  ride half a mile
    4.  bang
    5.  make the call of shame

  9. Unknown says:

    Back in the day before mobile, I remeber the walk of shame, then the goofy looks when asking to use the phone when in full kit. One soon learned what to carry on long rides and how to repair flats correctly. Goog post, Al.

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