Friday, March 28, 2008


I'm writing about an event that thankfully has not happend to me in quite some time. We've all had them at some time, you can't be a cyclist without this peril. Fixing punctures are not on my all time list of favorite things to do on a ride. That snakelike hiss can only be more terrible if the source was an actual snake. But normally as a cyclist you drop your head and pull over hoping that spare tube is still in good condition. I went through a patch last year that I was getting a few pucntures a month. Some were snake bites, for a full run down of the types of punctures take a look here, and some nasty little horned monsters throwing themselves at my unprotected wheels. I remember at one point I was siting in the evenings patching up all the tubes, it became quite expensive to keep buying new ones, almost every night for a full week. The most terrible thing would be a puncture with a group of strong riders and then have to pull over, everyones eyes rolling, and then stumbling around with gloves and tiny tools. This all topped off with a spare tube that also does not want to inflate and on closer inspection reveals another hole. I can count these with ease on both hands and still need to use some of my toes. My worst was a ride all on my lonesome into the wild bush without either spare tube or pump. Something I vow never to do again. Murphy must have spotted this predicament I had placed myself in and subsequently placed a nice big rock in path path while flying down a hill. She at least let me get to the bottom before the inevitable PSSSSSSSSST. I was buggered and had to walk about five kilometers to the car with shoes not ideally suited for hiking. After that I converted my bike to a tubless system. Basically you take a smaller inner tube, 20" in my case, and split it along the outer edge. This you place around the rim with the valve in place and the extra tube flapping over the edge. After that you replace the tire and then just before popping the tire on completely you fill the it with some sealant. Then you inflate a little making sure the tire is sitting on the wheel OK. After this inflate to your desired pressure and using a box cutter remove the excess inner tube that will be squeezed between the tire and rim. Just make sure not to cut the tire and there you have a DIY tubeless system that I have used without hassle for well over a year. You will need to refill the sealant every now and then but other than that you can be sure that the chances of getting aflat are drastically reduced.
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