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Bike Stranded

Discuss your experiences road riding, share knowledge or other general road cycling topics. A doping discussion free forum.

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24 Jul 2017 20:53

In my experience, the danger of tubular spares rolling off the rim is largely overblown. I rode sew-ups exclusively until my favourite manufacturers (Clément and Vittoria) moved production to Asia. And I never felt the need to ride home on tenterhooks after mounting a spare.

First of all, don't forget that for many, many years, tubulars were all there was.


Why are these men wearing spare tyres (plural) like bandoliers? Because in the early years of the TdF, Tour director Henri Desgrange did not allow riders to receive any external assistance. Couldn't even toss them a sammie.

There was one famous incident when a rider broke his fork, pushed the bike to the next town with a blacksmith shoppe, borrowed the smithy's hearth and anvil to mend his fork, and rejoined the race (but the mend shortly also broke). Because the rules then required that no one apart the rider make any repairs to the bike.

Few of the roads were tarmac and they not uncommonly would have several punctures in a single stage, so winning the race literally often depended on continuing to ride on the rivet despite riding on a hastily-mounted spare.

As an unsupported enthusiast rider, there are mechanical measures you could take to reduce the risk, namely glue and air pressure. Some tyre glues by their nature offer better security after a roadside tyre change. The ones that dry soft and remain tacky are better in this regard that the ones that dry hard. The ones that dry hard also usually dry faster and have a higher ultimate bond strength, so are preferred by likes of track racers and criterium riders (because of the cut-and-thrust nature of their events). But they're a PITA to dismount and the glue has little to no leftover bonding strength.

And there's also tyre pressure. The more pressure you add to a tubular, the fatter and shorter it gets, meaning it literally contracts circumferentially on the rim, rather like a Chinese finger trap.


Some of the old knowledge has been watered down or lost and IMHO where modern riders tend to go wrong is thinking they can inflate the spare to the same pressure they were running in the punctured tyre and have the same security. When the truth is if you were running six bar before the puncture, you should inflate the spare to seven or eight, or maybe nine or ten if you intend pressing your luck (another reason I carry a CO2 inflator ;) ).

Spares also should be pre-glued (not everyone follows this practice, but then not everyone has roll-offs either), and a higher tyre pressure serves better to compress the glue on the tyre against the residual glue on the rim, resulting in a less marginal temporary bond.

I only ever used glues that remained tacky, and I always over-inflated any spare I mounted. And I only bothered moderating my speed after changing a puncture if the lean angle was so severe that I otherwise would have had to stop pedalling, because the lean angle was direct evidence of a high side-load on the tyre. AFAIK I never even came close to a roll-off.

Which isn't to say roll-offs don't happen, despite best, even professional, efforts.


The most famous roll-off incident I can recall, Joseba Beloki, Stage 9, 2003 TdF. Not riding on a spare, naturally, but came down to a combination of unusual conditions. But there were upwards of 200 riders on the course that day and Beloki was the only one rolled a tyre.

Merckx index, you might be interested to know that none other than Graeme Obree carried rollerblades when he competed in the 2013 international human-powered vehicle competition at Battle Mountain, Nevada. Well, not the whole set actually, just the wheels:


To me this looks uncannily like his preying mantis position carried to its logical extreme. This was on a shake-down run, he used a fully-enclosed plastic fairing in the race.

To make his vehicle as compact (and streamlined) as possible, The Flying Scotsman sought to reduce the leg articulation which ordinarily is needed to drive pedals in a circle. So he used a straight-push pedal system that converted linear motion into circular my means of bell cranks attached to crank arms on chainwheels. He used urethane wheels scavenged from a pair of rollerblades captured inside a parallel tracks (boxed in green) as the guides for his linear-push pedals.

The stark staring maddest bit of all, madder even than the 290-inch (!!!) large gear resulting from having the first chainwheel drive a second, was the breathing apparatus. Fresh air intake came through about a 5cm hole at the bow of the fairing (effectively ram air, once at speed), connected to the engine's air intake (Obree's mouth) by means of a flexible hose scuba snorkel. Nope, not kidding.
User avatar StyrbjornSterki
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25 Jul 2017 03:30

StyrbjornSterki wrote:

Spares also should be pre-glued (not everyone follows this practice, but then not everyone has roll-offs either), and a higher tyre pressure serves better to compress the glue on the tyre against the residual glue on the rim, resulting in a less marginal temporary bond.

It's been a long time since I've used tubulars, but this statement jogs my memory. I now remember that my spares had glue on them, they were tacky to the touch. Plus, as you say, there was some glue on the rim. In any case, I do remember I never had a tire come off. I also remember opening up the old one to patch the leak, then sewing it back. Not a lot of fun.
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28 Jul 2017 20:30

You shouldn't be riding someplace that's too far to walk home without knowing how to fix a flat, you should not be dependant upon others for your problems that are easily remedied on your own, grow up! Sorry to be rough with you but that is the essence of the problem, maturity, unless you have some sort of physical malformity that prevents you from fixing stuff.

There are plenty of You Tube videos showing how to fix flats, watch several of them and then practice, practice, practice till you can do a flat on the rear (rear because that's the most complicated, once you can do the rear the front is a snap, and besides most flats occur on the rear so you better know how to deal with that), you should be able to do a rear flat in under 20 minutes, as you get better that time will shorten.

So you will need certain tools. A pump is crucial, but getting a crappy pump is useless and frustrating so spend some money and get a good pump like the Lezyne Road Drive large (they come in 3 sizes, get only the large one) if you have presta valves which are skinny valves, but if you have Schrader valves (large diameter just like your car valves) then you need a different pump like the Lezyne Pressure Drive; OR if you don't really care about the pumps weight, size, and looks, the Topeak Road Morph G pump can do either Presta or Schrader and is a lot easier to pump air into tires then the Lezyne; the Topeak is not a true mini, it's more of a half of a full size frame pump. DO NOT believe all the marketing hype about this or that pump can reach 160 psi, most mini pumps on the market cannot even exceed 75 psi not alone 100 to 120 road bike riding levels. The ones I listed can and do, I've gotten my Lezyne Road Drive up to 125 psi just to see how far it could get but even that one as good as it I doubt seriously it can get to 160 like they claim it can, I don't even think the Topeak Road Morph G can get that high either but I've never tried, I may do that later just for to see, but I know it can go higher than the Lezyne; fortunately no one needs to go that high, usually between 80 to 115 is all most people need based on weight and tire width. There are only maybe 2 or 3, maybe 4 at the most mini pumps on the market that reach riding PSI levels.

Watch You Tube videos on how to fix a flat.

Next you need a set of unbreakable tire irons since beginners tend to be rough on tire irons, but also these will last a lifetime, so get the Soma Steel Core levers. You need only two. Use a small rubber band to bundle the irons together so they don't rattle as you ride.

Watch You Tube videos on how to fix a flat.

Next you need a spare tube, which will be kept in your seat bag, if you don't have a seat bag get one, Topeak makes a really nice one called the Aero Wedge Pack, they come in 3 sizes, for just commuting you should be fine with the middle size. Keep your tube in its box to prevent it from getting punctured while in the seat bag. When you have a flat simply roll up the old tube tightly and forcing the air out of the valve which you may have to open as you roll and stuff it back into the box.

Watch You Tube videos on how to fix a flat.

You need a patch kit, I like glueless patches but since you're new to all of this you should start with glue on type because glue can mask errors you might make in the tube preparation process. I like Rema patches the best, they should come with a glue tube, and a piece of sanding cardboard. Carry this with you in the seat bag, just in case you flat your spare you can at least patch a tube and continue riding.

Next you watch You Tube videos on how to fix a flat.

Any other tools are not necessary at this time, only after you get more experience at biking will other tools become necessary.

Then watch You Tube videos on how to fix a flat on the road (ahh tricked you didn't I?) If I could I would come over and show you how to fix a flat but since that's impossible due to geographical locations You Tube is the next best thing, and if you watch enough of them you'll get the idea on how it's done, then simply practice practice practice at home till you can do it in under 20 minutes. If you have a tube with a hole in it, inflate the tube outside the tire till it's about 4 times it's flatted size, and listen for the air leaking as you move around the tube starting at the stem and working back to the stem. If you find the hole, or if you have a tube with no hole, well put one in it! I know, weird, but it will help you to learn how to patch, and then make sure after you followed the directions by watching You Tube videos on how to fix a flat, that once installed in the tire and the tire is pumped up to riding psi make sure that the patch holds.

Word about pumps, you might be living someplace in Europe, there are some pumps that are sold there that are not sold in America where I'm located, it may well be that there may be more pumps there that can reach higher levels of PSI then what we have here that I'm unaware of, but I know a lot pumps we have here are sold in the EU and most of those cannot reach higher levels.

If you have some sort of physical issue with fixing stuff then consider purchasing a flat resistant tire and or installing a flat liner which goes between the tube and tire. The plastic flat liners don't work as well as the cloth ones like the Panaracer Flat Away but the plastic ones are cheaper and reuseable. Tires like the Conti Gatorskin have decent flat protection, but any tire can get a flat, so be prepared.
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Re: Bike Stranded

15 Jan 2018 06:19

When I first started riding the bike, I also face similar kind of problem. After someday it will be okay cause I understood what should I do. I started to take some tools with my bike like Spare tube, Patch kit, chain tool, tire levers kind of tools. You should also take a toolbox with some necessary tools those will be helpful for a comfortable riding.
Happy Riding…
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Location: Brooklyn, NY

19 Jan 2018 11:08

Not sure why you needed a drive back home just because you got a flat...do not ride prepared for such an event? If you don't ride prepared may I suggest either stay with an indoor trainer or never ride more distance then you willing to walk back.

I don't understand people out riding bikes that can't at least fix a flat, there are dozens of You Tube videos on how to fix a flat, watch a bunch of those, then practice practice practice on the rear of a bike by taking the wheel off, deflating the tire, remove the tire and tube, replace tire and tube, reinstall wheel onto bike, inflate, repeat, until it becomes easy. After you've done that a few times find an old tube an put a small pin hole in it unless you already have one that is leaking, fill the tube up so it expands to about twice it's normal size, find leak by listening and or passing the tube pass the underside of your nose just above your top lip, this area is for some reason sensitive and can detect the air leaking unless you already found it fast due to the size of the hole. then deflate tube and patch it according to what you learned watching those You Tube videos.

For beginners I recommend glue on patches because the glue will help hide any flaws you may have done in the preparation department, first you need to buff the area where the hole is larger then the patch will cover, you only need to take the shine off the tube you don't need to scrub tube material off, next apply a thin layer of glue in an area larger then the patch will cover, lay patch so that the hole ends up in the middle of the patch, press patch on for a 10 seconds, some patches come with a clear plastic peel off layer you can leave it on or take it off it won't matter. Install tube according to what you've been practicing and inflate.

Tools to fix a flat with are cheap, you need a patch kit, Rema are the best; you need tire irons, I don't like plastic because they can break especially in cold weather, I use Soma Steel Core levers and never broke one; if you have tough to install tires first make sure you've got the bead of the tire into the center area of the rim as much as possible (watch those videos) then try to install by hand if you still can't get a section on use the lever making sure you don't pinch the tube between the tire and the rim, if you still are having issues you can get a tool called a VAR tire lever https://www.amazon.com/Var-Nylon-Tire-Lever-System/dp/B004YJ30M8 this will make the job a snap. Inflate with a decent pump, the only pumps I like is the Lezyne Road Drive or the Topeak Race Rocket HP if you have a road bike with high pressure tires and using Presta valves, other wise for lower pressure tires any mini pump will work as long as it can be used on Schrader and Presta, the two pumps I mentioned are the only few pumps that can actually reach 100 psi, most mini's won't go above 70 psi no matter what they claim they can reach.
And that's all the tools you need to fix a flat with, not a big deal.

If you are somewhat mechanical inclined you can take a multi tool with you, if not don't bother carrying one if you don't know how to use one, and assuming you don't know how to fix a flat then I can't see you ever using a mini tool at least not till you get more confidence on minor bike repairs.
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Re: Bike Stranded

04 Feb 2018 07:56

Sometimes it can happen. To handle this kind of situation you need to carry some necessary tools like, patch kit, multi-tool, chain tool, tire levers, pump etc.
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Re: Bike Stranded

09 Feb 2018 00:32

smith931 wrote:Sometimes it can happen. To handle this kind of situation you need to carry some necessary tools like, patch kit, multi-tool, chain tool, tire levers, pump etc.

Sometimes it can happen? IT SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN!! There is no reason to get a flat and have to call someone to come get you, unless you blew the tire to pieces. I blew a tire and tube once with about a 2 inch gash in both, I stuffed the tire with weeds, grass, leaves, anything I could find and left the tube inside, I rode the bike 18 miles home! Actually the ride was comfortable! obviousy that was because the tire sort of collapses but not so much the rim gets damaged, after 18 miles the sidewalls were messed up but the tire was messed up anyways so it didn't matter. It was sort of pain to stuff the tire with this stuff but it's more of a pain to wait around for help or to walk.

I know I come across rough for some of you who have been pampered by wives etc, but I've been married to my wife for 40 years, but she's my wife not my mother, and I'm adult not some kid. So when I go for a ride I'm prepared to handle most things, in fact I'm so much that way I didn't carry my cell phone for a long time until about 2 years ago when my wife became increasingly concern for my well being due to my age and texting morons driving cars. I've only had to call my wife twice in 40 years of riding, once when I got diarrhea so bad that I went through my stash of Imodium AD (yes I carry this sort of stuff just in case) and the Imodium wasn't working, and I got so fatigued from the diarrhea and still trying to ride the 12 or so miles back home! So I had to use a store phone to call her. The second time I called her was when I was in the hospital due to a bike crash that destroyed the bike and dislocated my shoulder, even then in my mind I didn't want to call her! But I thought she may want know what was happening out of respect for her. Some of you need to man up and not bother your wives with such trival things, our society use to be such that the man was the person that took care of everything and not bother their wives with stuff that 99.99% of the time could be fixed, besides there were no cell phones so you couldn't call her if you wanted to so you were forced to take action...and I wished the times would have stayed that way, it taught men to be men not to mention the respect men (most anyways) paid towards women, so now most men have become weenies, oh I'm sorry the modern term is metrosexuals, and they can't fix a dam thing, have to call their mommies for everything.

Ok, I let some steam off about all of this, now I have to call my wife to stand in front of me to take the rocks that are going to be thrown at me for what I've said... :rolleyes:
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17 Mar 2018 04:47

It’s possible that you keep getting punctures from new sharp things poking through the tire, but that’s unlikely. There’s probably something wrong with your tire, wheel or the way you are putting a new tube into the tire. These are the things that could be causing your recurring flats and how to fix them.
Before you go out for a ride you should take some minimum tools that is really so mandatory even not mentioned though.
The most convenient to carry is a mini-pump, which will fit in a bag on the bicycle, or clip to the bicycle frame.
One should carry tire levers, which come in sets of 3, with a rounded business end, and a bent, hooked end for hooking onto a spoke.
Also, you'll need a small adjustable wrench to remove and replace the wheels if they are held on by nuts. See our Tool Tips article on Adjustable Wrenches.
Mentioning anti-theft wheel retention systems require a special wrench -- there are too many varieties to show here.
Remember, some hard situation may occur when riding. But a smart rider should be prepared to handle them patiently.
That makes the difference.
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28 Mar 2018 01:13

Another suggestion. Before you do anything, mark the location of the valve stem on the tire with a pen, or something. When you find the leak on the inner tube, you then can find where to look on the tire. Also, I don't know how many times I've pulled out glass assuming that it was the cause of the leak, but noooooo. The most common kind of flat causing I get is the steel belt strands of radial tires. They can be very difficult to spot visually or by touch. Hope this is useful.
User avatar MarkvW
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