Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

General Discussion about electric bicycles.
Jabotical   100 W

100 W
Posts: 101
Joined: Jul 15 2016 2:58pm
Location: Phoenix, Arizona

Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by Jabotical » Aug 17 2016 2:58pm

I've read through a lot of threads here on this subject, and apologize for creating another, but it would be very useful to find out if I'm still missing something crucial.
My journey so far...

Ebike commute day 1: Rear flat (cause uncertain). Replaced lousy stock tube with pre-slimed extra thick tube.
Ebike commute day 10: Rear flat (due to one-too-many evil long thorns). Replaced stock knobbly tire with Schwalbe Big Ben w/Raceguard. Bought another pre-slimed extra thick tube.
Ebike commute day 14: Rear flat (due to nail).
embeddedNail.jpg
embeddedNail.jpg (109.68 KiB) Viewed 2517 times
rimPuncture.jpg
rimPuncture.jpg (98.52 KiB) Viewed 2517 times
theCulprit.jpg
theCulprit.jpg (70.98 KiB) Viewed 2517 times
The first two were arguably due to being unprepared. But this one today... I'm getting to the point where I don't know what I could have done differently. Was I just unlucky? Or can I expect this to happen every week or so?

Big Ben tires are supposed to be quite puncture resistant, but should I up the ante to Marathon Pluses or Armadillos or something? Will that actually help against something like that nail (seems like it could get through about anything, considering the dang thing penetrated through my rim, per the above image).

Do I need to be scrupulous about riding where cars tires go instead of in the dedicated bike lane? The bike lane seems safer and more convenient for everyone, but if there's a very real tradeoff between weekly flats or riding in the road proper, I might have to adjust my habits. Though would police bother me for not riding in the bike lane when one's available?

I have been absolutely delighted by switching my commute to ebike, and am willing to go to a lot of trouble to keep doing so... but I'd like to minimize that trouble to a little less than I've experienced so far on average!

User avatar
amberwolf   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 25082
Joined: Aug 17 2009 6:43am
Location: Phoenix, AZ, USA, Earth, Sol, Local Bubble, Orion Arm, Milky Way, Local Group
Contact:

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by amberwolf » Aug 17 2016 3:09pm

Nails like that will go thru car and truck tires, so if you are in areas where that is likely to be around, just watch where you ride and don't hit that stuff.

Otherwise your options are pretty limited, and mostly include carrying repair kits and using one or more of the various methods in the other flat prevention / fix threads.

You could run motorcycle tires which will be somewhat better at resisting such punctures, but nails like that are going to go thru anything (even the slime and other brand protector strips won't stop them despite what their advertising claims, if htey hit it right or are long enough to hit your rim after they go thru the strip and around the tube, or if they just plain rip thru the tire sidwall and let your tube hang out to be ripped by the bbrakes or frame).

Only thing that will stop it f rom happening is to not hit it. ;)

Jabotical   100 W

100 W
Posts: 101
Joined: Jul 15 2016 2:58pm
Location: Phoenix, Arizona

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by Jabotical » Aug 17 2016 3:40pm

amberwolf wrote:Nails like that will go thru car and truck tires, so if you are in areas where that is likely to be around, just watch where you ride and don't hit that stuff.
Only thing that will stop it from happening is to not hit it. ;)
Makes sense, but the devil is in the details there. I take great pains to avoid hitting anything that stands out at all, but it's not easy to see a single nail when you're going 30+ mph. Perhaps I will develop a semi-mystical sense for such things as I gain experience :pancake:
Otherwise your options are pretty limited, and mostly include carrying repair kits and using one or more of the various methods in the other flat prevention / fix threads.
Fair enough! I may have to simply become very handy at patching and replacing tubes (but man it's a pain getting that rear tire off!)

It's good to have some confirmation that there's not something major I'm missing. Honestly I would expect this to simply be part of the cost of commuting like this, if it weren't that stuff kept happening so regularly. But my sample size is still limited. Perhaps I will go months now without another flat. After all, you live in the same metro area as me and haven't given up in disgust yet :?

User avatar
jordison   10 mW

10 mW
Posts: 25
Joined: Dec 29 2013 12:47pm
Location: EU

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by jordison » Aug 17 2016 4:39pm

i have a continental E.Contact on the front and a Schwalbe Big Apple on the rear with good results, the front has 11000km's and no flats.
these are ebike specific tires
a have a mid drive so i don't know if it's the same with heavy hubs

User avatar
Ykick   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 5558
Joined: Nov 26 2009 6:10pm
Location: San Diego, California

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by Ykick » Aug 17 2016 5:48pm

Nothing's gonna prevent a puncture like that. Hell, Slime wouldn't even slow it down since it went all the way through to the inner circumference of the tube. Slime can only work on holes in the outside circumference.

Basically, if I'm going into the boonies or some place where I can't get back with public transportation or hitch a pickup truck ride, I carry my tire repair tools including a small 12V air compressor. Some flats can also be repaired without completely removing the wheel from the bike.

Practice makes perfect and practicing at home will prepare yourself for what you need to have with you.
Talent must not be wasted.... Those who have talent must hug it, embrace it, nurture it and share it lest it be taken away from you as fast as it was loaned to you.

- Frank Sinatra

User avatar
Alan B   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7486
Joined: Sep 11 2010 7:43am
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, USA
Contact:

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by Alan B » Aug 17 2016 6:15pm

I used to get flats on my motorcycle regularly until I made a real effort to stay away from the right hand side of the lane.

In the bike lane you are riding in the debris field.

Reducing speed so you can see the hazards helps. So does tougher tires. I got down to one flat per year by changing to moped tires and watching more carefully for the hazards.

Image

This is a Schwalbe Marathon, not nailproof.

One fellow I know is putting old tires, tuffy liners, kevlar, and old tubes to make more layers in his fat tires and he still gets flats, right through all the armor.

Mid drives are much easier to change tires on, being prepared for a fast easy tire repair is one good way to handle this problem. Otherwise WifeStar with truck or bike rack works pretty well.

Trikes also tend to avoid the problem since it is the second tire in a line that generally gets the flat. Perhaps we should misalign our frames so the front and rear tires are in different tracks to avoid it. :)

cwah   10 GW

10 GW
Posts: 4130
Joined: Jul 24 2011 5:42am
Location: Between paris and london

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by cwah » Aug 17 2016 7:14pm

Interested too
Help me find my stolen electric brompton: http://bit.ly/1a0vbBC and Bosch Sinus B3 http://bit.ly/1eV0WQz

Jabotical   100 W

100 W
Posts: 101
Joined: Jul 15 2016 2:58pm
Location: Phoenix, Arizona

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by Jabotical » Aug 17 2016 8:02pm

jordison -- sounds like your approach is working great. Very impressive. The Schwalbe Big Ben I have on the rear is supposed to be at least as rugged/good for ebikes as the Big Apples, but alas it is not nail proof. Though it sounds like nothing is.
Ykick -- Yeah, that tire had fresh slime in it and the nail just laughed at it. Good call about repair tools. I had enough to change the tube, but it turned out my patch kit was worthless (remedying that now).
Alan B wrote:I used to get flats on my motorcycle regularly until I made a real effort to stay away from the right hand side of the lane.
In the bike lane you are riding in the debris field.
I'm starting to think that's the real secret, right there. All kind of supporting articles, eg:
http://www.humantransport.org/bicycledr ... g/wols.htm, http://www.humantransport.org/bicycledr ... tripes.htm
http://cyclingsavvy.org/hows-my-driving/

It's a shame, since everyone likes the idea of a nice "safe" (or at least non-impeding) dedicated lane for bicyclists (the existence of which is much of how I picked my current commute route). And I suspect I will be harassed by motorists and possibly police for riding outside of the bicycle lane (perhaps I will search out a new route without a lane, haha). But I gotta change something.
Reducing speed so you can see the hazards helps. So does tougher tires. I got down to one flat per year by changing to moped tires and watching more carefully for the hazards.
Perhaps I'll end up with moped tires eventually. (Like many) I like staying as much like a normal bike as possible, but sacrifices sometimes must be made.
Mid drives are much easier to change tires on, being prepared for a fast easy tire repair is one good way to handle this problem. Otherwise WifeStar with truck or bike rack works pretty well.
Yeah that's definitely a mid drive advantage. Of course, I'm starting to get reasonably fast at taking off my big DD hub wheel, heh. Really, arranging all the crap I have on my handlebars to make flipping the bike over possible, is almost the worst part now.

WifeStar with bike rack saved me on that first flat. Hope to keep the assistance required from her to a minimum so she doesn't hate my new commuting approach :)
Trikes also tend to avoid the problem since it is the second tire in a line that generally gets the flat. Perhaps we should misalign our frames so the front and rear tires are in different tracks to avoid it. :)
Dang that sounds nice for trikes. Haha yes, ingenious idea for a new crooked bike.
I've certainly come across peoples' suggestions to dangle a mud flap type thing somewhere between the tires, to deflect stuff kicked up by the front tire.
Others suggest that the notion of the front tire setting up the rear tire for failure is not entirely the problem, that the fact that the rear wheel has all the force applied to it may be? I don't know, but it's an interesting line of inquiry.

User avatar
motomech   1 GW

1 GW
Posts: 3166
Joined: Sep 11 2010 12:21am
Location: Tucson Az.

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by motomech » Aug 17 2016 8:10pm

Do I need to be scrupulous about riding where cars tires go instead of in the dedicated bike lane? The bike lane seems safer and more convenient for everyone, but if there's a very real tradeoff between weekly flats or riding in the road proper, I might have to adjust my habits. Though would police bother me for not riding in the bike lane when one's available?
There is no way I would ride in a car lane on our busy streets, but here in Tucson the city is showing it's bicycle friendly attitude by cleaning the cycle lanes after big rains. You should be take solace in the monsoon tapering off. By now, not that much sand (w/ their attendent Goats Head thorns) is being washed into the bike lanes.
I have been riding Ebike and battling flats here in Tucson for years and and for the wheels they fit, I have had the best results w/ the Schwabe marathon and Marathon Plus.
I have since laced wider 24" rims and using wider tires and I run them tubeless. I have never had much luck with liners and Slime tubes.

As for nails, I think it's rare for one to stab a tire when it's laying flat on the black-top. In the past, I have picked most nails in alleys, especially when there's construction going on in the area. Those nails just vibrate/sift off the back end of the dump trucks.
Anyhow, hang in there, the rains are almost done.
Motomech

'03 Rocky Mountain Edge 2WD 260 Q100H frt and Ezee V1 rear 2 Elifebike 20A & 25A 9-FET controllers 12S/20Ah Multistar Lipo rear 5Ah Turnigy frt Luna Cyclops Extra lite Alex 24DM rims, Crazy Bobs run ghetto tubeless. 25 mph. Mean Well HLG-320H-54A
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=83430
'07 GT Idive 4 4.0, Q100C 201 14S LiPoly elifebike 9-FET 20A controller. 23 MPH.
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=49691&p=1378484#p1378484

User avatar
Alan B   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7486
Joined: Sep 11 2010 7:43am
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, USA
Contact:

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by Alan B » Aug 17 2016 11:59pm

You may be able to identify parts of the route where the hazard is greatest and take different routes or get out of the worst of it.

I keep thinking a neodymium magnet array in front of the rear tire might help, there are many patents for such things, but it isn't easy to do in a way that would work.

User avatar
amberwolf   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 25082
Joined: Aug 17 2009 6:43am
Location: Phoenix, AZ, USA, Earth, Sol, Local Bubble, Orion Arm, Milky Way, Local Group
Contact:

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by amberwolf » Aug 18 2016 1:08am

Jabotical wrote: I take great pains to avoid hitting anything that stands out at all, but it's not easy to see a single nail when you're going 30+ mph.
<snip>

After all, you live in the same metro area as me and haven't given up in disgust yet :?
i'm also not riding beyond 20MPH (cuz I'd rather not get 4-digit-cost tickets and have my transportation confiscated, which is what has happened to others that ride beyond the legal limit in the valley (enforcement is more active in Tucson but they do it here too, even if primarily to the gassers).

That speed difference makes a great deal of difference in how easy it is to see, and especially to avoid, debris in the road.

Sometimes I can't avoid stuff either...and I have had nails thru the rim, too. :/ I've also broken spokes and severely damaged rims (evne an axle back in just my regular bike days) hitting potholes or other debris that wasn't avoidable due to traffic...

But what I do these days that greatly changes the number of times I encounter such problems is to ride where I am less likely to find stuff like that. Meaning...not near where I know such debris is common (routes to and from construction in an area, or routes where I know garbage trucks (especially those that pick stuff up from commercial areas, as there will be pallet parts and nails that get picked up and dropped off their tires and such).

And I ride away from teh road edges whenever it's possible. Main roads here that have bike lanes (half-mile streets) generally don't have this kind of debris in them, because they're not usually used by the kind of traffic that drops that stuff, so I can often use the bike lanes there.

But main roads (main mile streets) oftne have torn up edges, cracks and holes filled with debris small, large, and of all sorts of shapes, and if you can't avoid those areas then eventually that stuff will "nail" you. :/

But because they *are* main roads, they'll have a lot of traffic on them most of the time and you won't be able to avoid the edges, unless you are brave enough (or large enough like my trike) to force traffic to move entirely around you into the leftward lanes, and don't mind them honking and yelling at you. Given that they'll generallly be going 45MPH+, there's little chance of simply going as fast as they are and not drawing unwanted attention from any police in the area.


So....on main roads where debris like you encountered is more likely, *and* you are more likely to be going faster to avoid/ameliorate confrontations/etc., *and* you are more likely to have to ride where the debris tends to collect, *and* the speed you're going is more likely to force the debris further and harder into your tires (and rims). :(


I'd venture that slower speeds and avoiding main roads would probably be your best bet aside from making the tires out of woven steel braids with "solid" kevlar "tubes". :lol:

User avatar
dogman dan   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 34366
Joined: May 17 2008 12:53pm
Location: Las Cruces New Mexico USA

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by dogman dan » Aug 18 2016 6:12am

I picked up nails in both car and bike tires repeatedly in the same area. I identified the cause, then walked that bike lane for about two miles, picking up nails. Never had a flat there since, but it's been a couple years now, so likely time to do it again.

Random nails everywhere of course, but in this one case, it all started at the driveway of a construction worker, who pulls a flat trailer full of loose nails. D---head.

I've had brand new tires flatted by nails in the first 20 miles, twice! Another had the side tore out by an unusually sharp rock I failed to dodge quick enough, at about 100 miles. Shit just happens. The reason it's always the darn rear tire, is the front tire flips up the nail, then your rear tire hits it point up. I've wondered about a nearly ground scraping rear fender. Bounce em to the side? Tiny broom before the rear tire?

Re the thorns, I have thorns a plenty. The first thing I learned was to forget the pre slimed tubes. You need thick tubes, and the chunky slime for ATV's. Lots of it,, like 8 oz per tube. The chunks can stop up the larger holes from thorns, if the tube itself is thick enough. I may still need to air up the tire often, but I can ride a tire with 100 thorns in it, so long as they don't actually go through the top of the tube, like that nail picture. Slime can be drained from old tubes and re used, for about 2 years, then it deteriorates.

I found liners don't do me all that much good, the thorns go through all. But like the thicker tubes, they do make you immune to short goathead thorns.

One thing I never actually tried,,, Cut down a foam tubeless tire insert, and make a liner that is about 3/4 inch thick, then use a regular thick tube. Bound to be pretty heavy.

User avatar
Drunkskunk   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 6977
Joined: Apr 14 2007 11:37am
Location: Dallas, Texas. U.S.A.

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by Drunkskunk » Aug 18 2016 9:06am

Nothing would have stopped that nail, but you can minimize the trouble with everything else.

I've found a formula that works for me to avoid most flats. The first part is to reduce your ground pressure with the widest tire you can fit. The second is to use a thick casing DH style tire. The third is to use a proper sized thick tube. (I.E. if you have a 2.4" tire, don't use a 2" tube) And last is to use actual Slime. The pre-filled tubes don't count.

I've been using this formula for a decade, and I can count the number of flats I've had on one hand. I have rode intentionally through a briar patch on many occasions. Pulled screws and nails out of my tire without needing to patch, and have pulled the tube out of an old worn out tire that still held air, only to find hundreds of thorns still embedded in the tube.

Also, you don't need to remove a wheel to patch a flat. In fact it's often easier to leave the wheel on the bike. Just pop the bead on one side of the tire, fish out the tube, find the hole, patch, stuff back, and re seat the bead. there is no need for the tube to be totally free of the wheel. That's how we patched flats in races.
Buy the ticket, take the ride.
Monster Bike:http://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewto ... =6&t=38667

User avatar
nutnspecial   1.21 GW

1.21 GW
Posts: 3805
Joined: Mar 03 2015 10:19pm
Location: PA

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by nutnspecial » Aug 18 2016 9:41am

With all the great ideas flying around, I wanted to offer one too although obvious no doubt.

What are nails for?

As impractical is it may be, sometimes when you can't beat'm, you go with the flow . . . :D
woodbike.jpg
woodbike.jpg (41.93 KiB) Viewed 2389 times
And even more impervious would be the old fashioned wagon wheel with iron cladding.
wagon.jpg
wagon.jpg (116.26 KiB) Viewed 2389 times
Suburban medievalry is what comes to mind there.
Sorry that's all I can offer, you guys took all the good ideas already :mrgreen:

User avatar
motomech   1 GW

1 GW
Posts: 3166
Joined: Sep 11 2010 12:21am
Location: Tucson Az.

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by motomech » Aug 18 2016 10:06am

One thing I never actually tried,,, Cut down a foam tubeless tire insert, and make a liner that is about 3/4 inch thick, then use a regular thick tube. Bound to be pretty heavy.
I have one, for sale cheap!
It was a waste of money, quite a bit actually($40).
First off, I had to buy a skinny tire(1.95") and fight to get the foam tube inside to keep the tire from spinning on the rim. I have read of some who have wrapped an old tube around it to be able to fit a larger tire, bit you really can't go bigger than 2.0".
The riding experience was pure Flintstone and only a kid whos teeth are still solid in the gums could ride with it. I ditched it after the first test ride.
I am now on DIY "ghetto" tubeless version 3.0 on both my CST's and Holly Rollers and I think I have finally got it right.
I won't go into the entire proceedure, but the main thing I'm doing is to glue the tire's bead to the rim liner w/ rubber cement before inflation. This does two things;
1) it eliminates any slow leakage and my tires now hold air like a tube type.
2) If I stop as soon as I feel a tire getting low, the tire will not have broken off the bead and unless the damage is catastrophic, I can do a quick road side repair.
Even if the 4 Oz.s of Stan's sealant doesn't plug the leak, I can hear and see where it's coming from and use this bicycle plug kit;
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017B ... UTF8&psc=1
But now that I'm carrying that and my CO2 inflator, I have not had to use them.
Motomech

'03 Rocky Mountain Edge 2WD 260 Q100H frt and Ezee V1 rear 2 Elifebike 20A & 25A 9-FET controllers 12S/20Ah Multistar Lipo rear 5Ah Turnigy frt Luna Cyclops Extra lite Alex 24DM rims, Crazy Bobs run ghetto tubeless. 25 mph. Mean Well HLG-320H-54A
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=83430
'07 GT Idive 4 4.0, Q100C 201 14S LiPoly elifebike 9-FET 20A controller. 23 MPH.
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=49691&p=1378484#p1378484

ColinB   100 W

100 W
Posts: 139
Joined: Jun 29 2011 1:50pm
Location: British Columbia, Canada

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by ColinB » Aug 18 2016 12:59pm

Hi Jabotical,
You have had a string of bad luck. The Marathon Plus is rated higher for flat protection. I use a 20x1.75 on the rear of my electric recumbent with good results. No liners, no fancy tube, no slime. (But we don't have those thorns.) With the Marathon I've been saved by the protection belt a few times, but also had a few mystery punctures. So they aren't perfect, but I like 'em.

I would:
- Call your municipality to request street sweeping, if there is a bad area. (Obviously you can't request your entire route, although that would be nice!)
- Check your tire pressure - not too hard, not too soft.
- Consider a Schwalbe Marathon tire, or a motorcycle tire if your bike can accommodate one.
- Carry tools, pump, patch kit and replacement tube.

Colin

User avatar
TheBeastie   1 MW

1 MW
Posts: 1745
Joined: Jul 28 2012 12:31am
Location: Melbourne Australia

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by TheBeastie » Aug 18 2016 1:00pm

Could attack a magnet sweeper in the front of your ebike for a few runs along your route to clear it up..

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Husky-18-in- ... /203507378
image_12662.jpg
image_12662.jpg (84.21 KiB) Viewed 2384 times
Or maybe ask your local government to magnet sweep.. I think they do that on a path in Melbourne as its believed some mystery person apparently super hates cyclists and deliberately throws nails out of his car every few months but no ones ever been able to catch the culprit, its a real mystery..
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-16/y ... an/7515202
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-21/f ... rd/6559688
VicRoads has spent more than $100,000 sweeping the route with magnets
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-08/c ... ds/7072342
Last edited by TheBeastie on Aug 18 2016 2:46pm, edited 1 time in total.
Speed Kills Range, 10mph = 46 miles range, 20mph = 20 miles, 30mph = 8 miles range https://goo.gl/1JNL53
Over Charging Kills ur battery bit.ly/1hzWKl4
Consider PAS as your only throttle https://goo.gl/Kg1F8F
Fuel-Cell is the ultimate battery coupled with 4th-gen Nuclear https://goo.gl/ZhFFot
https://goo.gl/gfa215
10 Square Miles of solar panels = 0.12GW average power! https://goo.gl/Ub1S39

User avatar
amberwolf   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 25082
Joined: Aug 17 2009 6:43am
Location: Phoenix, AZ, USA, Earth, Sol, Local Bubble, Orion Arm, Milky Way, Local Group
Contact:

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by amberwolf » Aug 18 2016 1:18pm

ColinB wrote: - Call your municipality to request street sweeping, if there is a bad area. (Obviously you can't request your entire route, although that would be nice!)
HAHAHAhahahah ha ha .... :lol:

Sorry...this is not a city (actually, pretty much the whole valley) responsive to citizen *anything*, most especially if it doesn't cause numerous fatal accidents in a short time. :/

Even when the street sweepers *do* come around, they only sweep the main part of the road where the cars are--not the bike lanes, edges or gutters. Why should they? Nobody drives there anyway, right? :roll:

If they do get a small section of the edges clean, it was probably an accident, not paying attention to where they were going (I've seen them drive up onto the sidewalks on occasion, and even partially into a yard once), or maybe they had to swerve to avoid a car driving the wrong direction or a hole in the road big enough for them to be affected. ;)


Pardon my perhaps caustically-sarcastic response; I just don't see it happening.

They don't even fix traffic lights (broken sensors, walk buttons, burned out lights, etc) or street lights until collisions (probably fatal ones) occur, or they happen to be doing some other work that would require working on them.


Actually I take that back--they *do* do some of these things...where businesses like Walmart are involved (like at Metrocenter where a new one is being built; numerous road repairs that have gone unfixed for many years have started to be fixed (badly, as usual), others are marked to be (but have not yet been done, probably won't be at this point), and they just replaced the sensor wires in the intersection leading into the new parking lot, and appear to be working on the actual lights themselves. (but they have not fixed the stuff at the road edges that is dangerously-high/deep "waves" of asphalt where heavy vehicles brake and accelerate and push the asphalt around, except at one of the bus stops where it had gotten deep enough to break several square feet of asphalt off the road and leave a hole that affected the bus itself).

User avatar
Alan B   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7486
Joined: Sep 11 2010 7:43am
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, USA
Contact:

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by Alan B » Aug 18 2016 3:56pm

I have considered attaching a leaf blower to my ebike and blowing the junk off the bike lane. Perhaps make a trailer that has a leaf blower or two, and a magnet pickup. Rid the route on a Sunday and clean it up. Watch where the junk is going, my route is rural so no problem. For some routes more of a vacuum trailer would be needed to contain the stuff and not endanger the sidewalk inhabitants. The bicyclists would applaud you.

User avatar
E-geezer   100 W

100 W
Posts: 148
Joined: Apr 25 2016 10:35pm
Location: Utah

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by E-geezer » Aug 18 2016 4:17pm

Alan B wrote:I used to get flats on my motorcycle regularly until I made a real effort to stay away from the right hand side of the lane.

In the bike lane you are riding in the debris field.
Yeah, as a long time roadie, the farther right you ride, the odds get exponentially higher you're going to pick something up. I wouldn't ride right in the lane, but I'll adjust my line over to the white line depending on how much crap is on the road. Also, the greater the traffic load, the greater amount of debris. I choose my routes by overall safety, not by how direct they are.
The older I get, the faster I was

Jabotical   100 W

100 W
Posts: 101
Joined: Jul 15 2016 2:58pm
Location: Phoenix, Arizona

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by Jabotical » Aug 18 2016 6:49pm

This is really good stuff! To summarize:

Everyone seems to agree that nothing will prevent a nail like that from punching through if you run over it.
Protective tires and proper-width, correctly-inflated thick tubes with real ATV slime, are great against thorns [Dogman, Drunkskunk, ColinB]
Watch more carefully, ride slower [amberwolf, Alan B]
Pick routes that aren't as busy = less debris, easier to avoid [amberwolf, e-geezer]
Don't ride far to the right, esp. when there's a lot of debris [Alan B, amberwolf, e-geezer]
Clean up the debris, esp. in problem areas. [Dogman actually did it, on foot. The Beastie links to a fancy giant magnet sweeper to attach to bike, while Alan B envisions a leafblower. ColinB suggests calling the municipality to request street sweeping, resulting in mockery by amberwolf, or more accurately inciting amberwolf to mock the Phoenix area's government]
Speculation on mid-air debris interception between front and back wheels [Dogman muses of mid-bike fenders and tiny brooms, and Alan B dreams of a magnet casting a marvelous protective field - has anyone everyone actually pulled off something like this??]
Carry patch kit and extra tubes, can often patch without taking wheel off [Ykick, Drunkskunk, ColinB]
Certain tires are endorsed [ColinB: Marathon plus, jordison: Continental E.Contact, Schwalbe Big Apple]
Go tubeless - motomech is loving it.
Switch to a wooden bike or icon-clad wagon-style wheels [Nutspecial - extraordinary stuff]

Neither motomech nor e-geezer would ride in the normal auto lane in a metro area. Probably wise. I will note that I tried it on my last two commutes in a two lane road, and it actually seemed to work really well. Most people automatically move into the left lane when they see a bike (they often did that before even when I was in the bike lane). I generally moved into the bike line at red lights and if I saw much traffic approaching in my rear view mirror, which made it feel like I was impeding cargoers less.

I had a cheapo Wal-Mart patch kit that I tried to use this last time, and it turned out to be a worthless piece of junk. Ordered me a couple well-reviewed ones to try, for the inevitable next time.

ColinB reassures me in my poor luck, which is appreciated (:

User avatar
Alan B   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7486
Joined: Sep 11 2010 7:43am
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, USA
Contact:

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by Alan B » Aug 18 2016 10:17pm

One day I was plowing through gravel on the edge of the pavement due to some new chipseal work, and I saw the street sweeper. I waved at him and went back to focusing on not falling down. On the way home the gravel was all gone. I give the sweeper a high five every time I see him. We need to get these folks on our side. It really helps.

And avoid fresh chipseal. Take a different route for a week or two. Nasty stuff.

User avatar
Chalo   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 7129
Joined: Apr 29 2009 11:29pm
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by Chalo » Aug 18 2016 11:32pm

Jabotical wrote:I had a cheapo Wal-Mart patch kit that I tried to use this last time, and it turned out to be a worthless piece of junk. Ordered me a couple well-reviewed ones to try, for the inevitable next time.
Tubes that have been contaminated with Slime are very difficult to patch effectively. The glycol base of the sealant works against the adhesive. I would use a no-residue solvent degreaser to prep the tube for glue.

I've never found a patch kit I like better than German-made Rema Tip Top kits.
This is to express my gratitude to Justin of Grin Technologies for his extraordinary measures to save this forum for the benefit of all.

LewTwo   100 kW

100 kW
Posts: 1056
Joined: Apr 08 2014 4:46pm
Location: Houston, Texas
Contact:

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by LewTwo » Aug 19 2016 4:53am

Well I am not recommending them but there are solid rubber tubes ....
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000BOCA44

I think that I have also seen wheelchair tires that were solid rubber as well.
There was a company where I lived in Florida that would inflate your tire/tubes with some kind of foam rubber that solidified. It was intended for wheel barrels tires.
The more I learn the more obvious the immensity of my ignorance becomes.
Weight Wennie E-Bike https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... 3#p1173723
Shaft Drive Grocery Getter https://endless-sphere.com/forums/viewt ... =6&t=90718
...and thanks to Justin!

User avatar
dogman dan   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 34366
Joined: May 17 2008 12:53pm
Location: Las Cruces New Mexico USA

Re: Is there more I could be doing to avoid flats?

Post by dogman dan » Aug 19 2016 5:30am

Yes,, as Chalo pointed out, slime screws you for patching tubes. But sometimes a big nail will make you have to patch.

If I really need to patch in the field, step one is get the hole high, so as much as possible slime drains to the bottom. Remove as much air as possible, so no slime is trying to get back out through the hole. Clean as much as possible, carry a rag for this. If really slimy on the outside, which is common, wash with dirt, then wipe dry with the rag.

Then use a large patch. The patch may still not stick well, so you need more area glued down. Not a permanent fix, but it should get you home.

On a really critical ride, like I'm going to be 30-40 miles from town in a lethal desert, I definitely carry a tube, and a spare tire! But if a hole in a tire is relatively small, say less than a 3/4 inch cut, then you could carry a piece cut from an old tire. Stick it in the tire over the hole, re inflate to a low ish pressure, and limp home.

For a permanent patch on slimy tubes, you get all the air out you can, drain the slime away from the hole, and wash the area enough to get a permanent patch to stick.

Back to the sweeping. Oh yeah,, that's really funny, ask the city to sweep. Actually the place I have problems the city is not allowed to sweep. It's the frontage road of a state highway. My city actually does a great job of the sweeping, particularly in the rainy season when sand and gravel is washed into the streets. Some years, I'll see the sweeper in my area twice in the same year. But the state highway,, well, once a year would be heaven. Once in three years is more typical When they do come sweep the wide bike lane on the frontage, invariably the guy is driving along with his hopper full, so the sweeper basically just taking the accumulated rocks, dirt, and nails in the gutter, and spreading them evenly over the entire bike lane and part of the car lane. Thanks bro. :twisted:

Soooo,, The corner by my house that my car, my wifes car, my bikes and my scooter travels daily, I stop about bi weekly, and pick up the nails and screws. Farther down the road, I stop and pick up nails in the intersections when I see them. May as well, they will be there for years, where the cars flip them into my bike lane.

And,, I actually sweep and shovel the first 2 miles of that road annually or so. Nobody else is going to do it, and that first couple miles I travel often. It's the route to a dollar store, veggie store, and the flea market.

I did rig a broom on the bike once, and it did a good job knocking the larger rocks to the gutter. But really did not do a thing to nails lying flat. I still need to try a deflector right in front of the rear wheel for nails. Maybe a magnet on it.

Post Reply