My Strange Flat Tire Experience

My Strange Cycling Experience

We All Have To Overcome Obstacles In Life

Sometimes the obstacles are just minor annoyances, sometimes they are very serious.  I was thinking about how funny life can be sometimes, and I remembered an article I had written way back on October 2, 2015 while my riding partner Jim and I were out on a ride.  Here’s the article:

It all started in the evening on the day before yesterday, September 30, 2015, when I discovered that the rubber tread was wearing off the back tire on my bicycle.  I was starting to see the ribbed belt underneath, which meant that the tire was in danger of failing and I needed a new tire.  It wasn’t an immediate danger, so my plan was to ride yesterday, which was Thursday, then get a new tire and replace it that evening.

So Jim, my riding partner and I rode about 18 miles Thursday afternoon.  I got the new tire after the ride, which was uneventful by the way.  I kind of expected to get a flat anytime on the ride but the tire held together no problem.  I went to one of the local bike shops here in Fruita and picked up a new tire. I got a good one.  The clerk said it was puncture resistant, which I thought was a good thing because of the huge amount of goatheads in this part of the country.

Goatheads Are Evil!

Goat Head Nutlets

Goathead is the common name around here for the spiny nutlets that grow on an invasive weed called Tribulus Terrestris by those of the scientific community.  I believe that the mission in life of the goathead is to puncture bicycle tires, and bare feet.  These infuriating little weeds can be found growing along the sides of most roads in western Colorado.  They lurk there, waiting for an unsuspecting bicycle to pass by, for most of the late summer and fall.

The plant is a pretty green color with small, almost fern-like leaves and has small yellow flowers, a deceptive camouflage for the evil monster it really is.

Anyway, back to changing my worn out tire.  Strange things started to happen as soon as I began to change the tire.  First the old tube seemed to want to stick inside the old tire.  I got it out, and then the old tire came off easily enough.  Then I had to wrestle with the new tire to get it on the rim.  It was one of those tires that come folded, and so are a little more difficult to work with initially, but this one was fighting me with all it had.  I finally got the first bead on, and put in the tube, but getting the second bead onto the rim was a bear.  It just didn’t want to go.  I finally had to get a flat blade screwdriver to pry the rubber edge onto the rim.  They say a screwdriver is a no-no, because you can scratch things and pinch things.

Well, apparently I pinched something, because when I tried to pump up the tire the tube wouldn’t hold any air.  It was the old tube from the old tire, which was holding air fine before, but now it wouldn’t, which meant that I wasn’t done with the screwdriver yet.  I had to pry the tire off again on one side then put in my only spare tube and then pry the tire back onto the rim.  Again.  I did all that, and began to pump.  Lo and behold, it held the air.  I pumped it up to 100 psi, which is normal for a road bike tire, and went out and put the tire back on the bike, feeling the satisfaction of a difficult job accomplished.

My ride-buddy Jim and I were planning on a 25 to 30 mile ride this morning.  We took off at nine o’clock heading east on K Road from Fruita.  Somewhere between 20 Road and 21 Road I glanced down and saw something sticking to my front tire.  I pulled over and pulled it off.  It looked like a goathead imbedded in some grass.  The tire didn’t seem to be losing air, so the spine apparently didn’t puncture the tube.  We kept going.

Today Goatheads Won The Battle

The score:  Bike 1, goatheads 0.  We rode to 24 Road then turned south on 24 to ride to J Road.  We turned back west on J Road, and about halfway between 24 Rd and 23 Rd my rear tire suddenly went flat.  The brand new, puncture resistant tire went flatter than a pancake.  We pulled over again and, lo and behold, I found a goathead in the tire.

New score:  Goatheads 1, bike 1.  I didn’t have a spare tube, because it was already in the tire, so I had to borrow Jim’s spare.  I changed the tube and we started to go, but just before getting back on the bike I checked my front tire, which was fine before, and it was soft too.  A quick check turned up another goathead in it too, and neither one of us had a spare tube.  I pumped it up with my CO2 pump and we started back, hoping that I only had a slow leak and could make it back home before the front tire went flat again.

No such luck.  We made it to 23 Rd then back up to K Rd, a total of about two miles, but on K just before a downhill I stopped to check the front tire, and it was soft again.  I tried to pump it back up but no luck, it wouldn’t hold any more air.  I had to call my wife Cathy to come and get me.

Final score:  Goatheads 2, bike 1.  I rarely get a flat, and then got two on the same ride.  The strangeness wasn’t over yet, though.

After lunch Cathy and I went to The Bike Shop in Grand Junction for some new tubes (that’s the actual name of the store).  I went there because I knew that they carried tubes that were pre-slimed and thus were self-sealing.  I bought four.  I needed to give one to Jim to pay him back for the one I took from him on the ride, and I needed one for my front tire, and I wanted two spares.  I took Jim’s over to him and then went home to change the tube in my front tire.

The tire on the front of my bike came off the rim a lot easier than the new tire on the back.  I took the old tube out and put in the new slimed tube, then re-seated the tire.  Piece of cake so far.  I started to pump the tire up to 100 psi, and at 80 psi I heard a loud “POP” and saw a green mist spray up from the rim of the tire!  I checked the tire and found that I had allowed the new tube to get pinched between the tire and the edge of the rim when I was putting it all together, and the pinch couldn’t handle the pressure and popped the tube.  I had just destroyed a brand new tube.  It was still holding air though, which was impressive.  I had just put a big hole in a brand new tube and the tire was still hard.  I disconnected my pump and pushed in the valve to release the air pressure, but what I got was a big gob of Slime.  The tire stayed hard.  The Slime in the valve hardened quickly and held the pressure in.  The hole where the pinch was wasn’t leaking either.  I couldn’t get the air out of the tube to change it out.  I finally had to unscrew the valve from the valve stem to get the air out.  It came out in a big WHOOSH along with another big mist of Slime, but the tube went flat and I was finally able to change it.  This time I was careful to make sure there were no pinches in the new tube.  I expect it to do really well with the self-sealing feature, since it proved itself so well when I screwed up and ruined a brand new tube.  I’m optimistically expecting many rides without getting a flat tire, except maybe for the rear tire, which still has a plain old un-self-sealing tube in it.

No problem, that’s why I carry a spare.

Thanks for reading my post.  Leave A comment if you’d like.

I’m Grant

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