Sunday, May 15, 2011

First flat on the rear wheel

As I was riding at the Bay to Breaker's event for a good 12 miles before I heard a pop and tssssssss. The tire had blown and it had blown bad. How bad? I quickly steered clear across a group of 7 people towards the curb to find out.

Picking the trike up (which actually did surprisingly feel lighter than before), I set it on the grass up on the curb so it'd be out of the way of runners. Good thing I did b/c not too longer after, a kid pushing his friend in a shopping cart can speeding down the hill grinding the wheels against the curb I had just gotten onto.

No pic, but they looked like they were having fun. It reminds me of the movie, Jackass. I think I remember a scene where they went up a ramp on one of those grocery market carts. Either that or it was just on the regular MTV series.

You can barely tell b/c it's sitting on grass, but this thing was completely flat. Although disappointing, I was a bit excited as this would be my first chance to practice fixing a flat on a trail.

I got lazy and decided rather than risking losing pieces while taking the wheel off, I'd just remove the tire and tube to try patching it.

Prior to removing the tube, I checked the inside of the tire to be sure there weren't any obvious foreign objects protruding. All was clear and that's when I turned to get a closer look at the tube itself.

Finding the hole was probably the hardest part. With so many people around, it was hard to hear the hissing sound of air escaping the tube. I read the night before on Sheldon Brown's site that lips are one of the most sensitive parts of the body and it's a good idea to put the tube up to your lips to feel for air (especially if it's in a loud environment where hearing it isn't practical or possible).

It worked!

I found the hole right at the rubber where the valve was at. I pulled out a Specialized patch I had bought almost a year prior and stuck that puppy on after grinding the tube with the included sand paper.

Pumping air back into the tire was quite a task. I had to hold up the back end of the trike while pumping as to not put too much weight on the tube prematurely. I later found it helpful to move the trike so that the rear wheel just hung over the curb before pumping.

It appears that these Schwalbe tubes are a POS. This is the second tube that's just burst for no reason! This is after I bought 4 more spares! I guess I'll either need them or should buy another brand. I intend on getting some Sunlite tires soon. Schwalbe might make good tires, but their tubes are just pure crap.

Maybe I'm speaking too soon b/c I realized last night that I had never used rim tape. The outside of the rim where the spokes stick out was in direct contact with the tube. I doubt any rubbing caused the breakage b/c again, the hole was found at the tube's seam. I believe it's just poor construction in part by Schwalbe.

Here's a note to Schwalbe,

Stay away from tubes. Don't even think about making them anymore b/c you're just going to leave rider's stranded. Stick with what you're good at and save your time to research and develop improved tires.

There's a chance I could be completely wrong about what caused the flat and perhaps I'm criticizing Schwalbe prematurely. Just before lunch after I had already dropped off the trike at home, I stopped by the local bike shop to pick up rim tape. They had rubber ones for $1 which just looked like another layer of tire tube.

No thanks!

They also had the fabric kind, the type I've seen before. I grabbed that for $5 and was out of there. After getting back home, I put that on with a 1/2" overlap. It's sticky and just sticks to itself. It had a Presta valve hole, but stretched easily to accommodate my Schrader w/o a problem.

The tire's back on and everything's back in good shape - so far. I should probably swap out my tube for a new one, but I'm sticking with the patched one for now to see how long it'll hold up. This time I had used the Specialized patch rather than the Performance Bicycle branded one. The packaging on the Specialized ones and glue seem to be better.


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