Another Flat Tyre

It’s hard to describe the exact feeling, but once you’ve experienced it a few times you learn to recognise it. The handling of the bike starts to feel a bit weird – a bit unstable – as if the wheels are sliding a bit to each side.

It’s the feeling of a flat tyre – and of the consequential loss of grip on the road.

I felt the feeling yesterday morning on the commute to work –  and sure enough when I stopped the bike to check, I found that my back tyre was flat. Flat as a pancake. And for the second time in a month!

Luckily I wasn’t too far from the office when it happened, so it was a no-brainer to push the bike the rest of the way, lock the bike up, and deal with the puncture later.

Puncture Repair Kit
Puncture Repair Kit

I keep a basic tool-kit in my pannier bag at all times, that has tyre levers, a puncture repair kit, and a small hand pump – and I’ve fixed a few punctures before, so I was pretty confident of being able to sort myself out.

So at the end of the day, I set myself up in the underground car park at work, and got to work trying to find the hole in innertube. It took a couple of minutes to get the tyre off, and to pull the inner-tube out, but I found the hole quite easily (top tip – wet the suspected area while you inflate the inner-tube, and watch for the bubbles in water) and was able to apply the patch and reassemble the wheel quite quickly – with the whole process only taking about 20 minutes.

Unfortunately, in my haste to finish up and get on the road, I skimped on one important part of the repair process – to check the tyre to see if the offending item that caused the puncture was still there. I had run my fingers on the inside of the tyre, but didn’t feel anything. But it was still there. And wouldn’t you know it – as soon as I set of down the road, the tyre went flat again!

I had missed a rather jagged shard of blue glass (which I can only deduce came from clumsy ‘al fresco’ quaffers of Bombay Sapphire!) that was embedded deeply in my tyre.

Needless to say, I wasn’t happy – and didn’t relish the prospect of patching the inner-tube again. After all it already had about three or four patches on it already. So I pushed my bike along to the handily-located bike shop round the corner from my office, and invested in a brand new inner-tube – a bargain at €6. I could have paid them €14 to fit the new inner-tube for me, but at this point I wasn’t going to let it defeat me!

Anyway, so the glass shard was removed, the inner-tube was swapped, and the wheel re-assembled for a second time – and an hour after leaving the office I was finally on my home.

Bobbin Monsieur
Bobbin Monsieur

My only concern now is what to do about the tyres on this bike. As recent events have shown, they don’t really offer much protection against punctures (my other bike has Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres and has NEVER had a puncture), and ideally I’d like to swap them out for something a bit better.

However the bike has cream tyres, and I really like the look of them, and would prefer not to swap to boring black tyres. But I can’t find any cream coloured tyres for sale that offer good puncture protection, so I’m a bit stuck about what to do.

The only option available to me seems to be the Schwalbe Delta Cruisers, which offer some protection against punctures, and are also available in cream.

Richard Bloomfield

Richard is the founder of Dublin Bike Blog. He commutes to work every day by bike, come rain or shine, on his Dutch city bike. You can read more from Richard on his blog

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