The importance of regular bike inspections; Garmin $100 rebate!
While on Wednesday’s 109 kilometer (67 mile) group ride, I struck a broken beer bottle straight on. After I hit the bottle, I tensed up waiting for the dreaded hiss, but it never came. Whew.
On Thursday I rode the trainer, and yesterday I did a fairly short 72 kilometer (44.4 mile) ride with a few friends. I did an inspection of my bike before yesterday’s ride–as I always do–but it was a quick inspection because I was running late. Besides, I knew I had a 170 kilometer (105 mile ride) today, and I always do a more comprehensive tune and inspection before longer rides.
So last night after work I went out to the garage to get my bike ready for today’s ride. Part of my maintenance and inspection routine involves carefully checking both tires for any damage. As I was rotating the front tire around, I saw pretty sizable gash in the sidewall, and there was a small amount of tube protruding from the hole. Check it out (click to enlarge)
I’d all but forgotten about the beer bottle incident that occurred on Wednesday’s ride, but as soon as I saw the tear I knew what had caused it. There was also a smaller cut on the tire surface (you can see it in the above photo), but the casing was not penetrated there.
As soon as I hit the valve to let some air out, the tube blew. It’s a miracle I didn’t flat when I hit the bottle, and even more surprising that I didn’t flat on yesterday’s ride!
I just bought that tire (the awesome Michelin Pro4 Service Course) two weeks ago, and it only had 1,150 kilometers (719 miles) on it, so this is a bit of a bummer. I can’t blame the tire: I don’t think any road tire sidewall would have survived the same encounter. In fact, I have to give the tire credit because it not only got me home, it even survived another ride. It never flatted on me out on the road, and I’m impressed that it didn’t
I ordered another Michelin Pro4 Service Course without hesitation. Over the past couple weeks and 1,150 kilometers on the Pro4 tires, I’ve been very impressed with their performance and reliability: no flats, low rolling resistance, comfortable ride, great looks and incredibly good cornering. As much as I love the Continental Grand Prix 4000s tires, the Pro4s are edging ahead in my book. This incident has done nothing to alter that.
Anyway, getting back to my point, even if you don’t do your own bike maintenance, it’s still very important that you always do pre-ride safety inspections. If I’d not spotted that problem last night, that tube would have blown on my 100 mile ride today, no question about it. Fixing this sort of a mechanical on the road is not a simple tube replacement, either: when the tube protrudes from the sidewall, it will blow. A replacement tube would have popped quickly, probably while I was airing it up.
So here’s a little tip on how to be prepared for something like this happening while out on a ride. I always carry a few inches of duct tape (folded over so no sticky side is showing) with me when I ride. The duct tape can be placed inside the tire at the damaged location to prevent the tube from protruding. If you don’t have duct tape, you can even use something like a Clif bar wrapper. It’s not a long-term solution, but it will get you home.
I need to wrap this up, it’s almost ride time. This morning is the third of five WMBC XFL (Cross-Florida) training rides. Today’s ride is 170 kilometers (105 miles), and we’re going to have a fairly chilly start with temperatures just above 40° (F). I’ll be broadcasting the ride using Garmin’s neat-o LiveTrack, so look for that link on Facebook shortly after 8:00 AM.
Oh, one last thing! Speaking of Garmin, they are offering a $100 rebate on the Edge 810! This rebate is for a limited time, and good on both the Base model and the Performance bundle (which includes heart rate monitor and speed/cadence sensor), your choice. Enjoy!