I got a flat tire while cycling this week. Not the first time that has happened but they do seem to come in groups so I’m watching out. I had two flat tires earlier in the spring but they were so close together they were almost the same flat tire. I geared up and went to get my bike and the tire was flat. It must have been a slow leak since it wasn’t flat the day before. I changed out the tube for a new one and went for a ride. A couple of miles from home the new tube went flat. How annoying. I had checked the tread for debris so this was a whole new leak.

This weeks flat tire was also a few miles from home. My ride turns into a walk I say. I can tell that a tire is going flat because the ride gets rougher. All of a sudden I felt the bumps in the road more than I had before. Sometimes it’s just in my head but soon I know for sure. That flat tire feeling is unmistakeable. A flat tire will also fish tale on you if you happen to be going down hill. That is never fun.

Last year I bought a self healing type tube. I had this green goo inside it that was supposed to plug the leak if the tube is punctured. As long as the leak is small enough it says. I’m not sure if any leak is small enough for it.

When that tube went flat there was goo all over the inside of the tire tread and all over the outside of the tube. The goo had congealed a little but not enough to plug up the pinhole sized leak. I patched the tube and when I got another leak some months later the goo didn’t plug that one either. Now the tube has five patches on it and is empty of goo. I wanted to replace that tube altogether but when I went to put one of my new ones in it had the wrong valve on it. I’m not sure how I bought the wrong one.

The one I did put on was a “Thorn Resistant” tube. I don’t know who came up with the term “Thorn Resistant” but I find it a weird one. It’s a tube for a skinny road bike tire. Who is riding one of those over thorns? Maybe a person on a mountain bike might ride over some thorns but I never have on my road bike. It’s always a little sliver of glass that flattens my tire. At least it is when I can actually tell. Sometimes the glass embeds itself in the tire and sometimes I’m just left with a little hole in the tube and I can’t tell what made it. Maybe it was a thorn. But I doubt it.

The “Thorn Resistant” tube seems to be a tube with more thickness to it than a normal tube. As a matter of fact I had a bit of trouble putting it on before I got the hang of it. I’ve gotten pretty good changing tubes but the “Thorn Resistant” one was different. Normally I stick the tube in the tread and then put the tread on the rim pinching the tread so it sets down into the rim and then I blow it up. With the extra thick tube I had a little trouble pinching the tread into the rim. There was too much rubber in too little space. Eventually I put a little air in the tube to move it to the outside of the tread and then could set the tread in place properly. Let’s see if the extra thick tube lasts. Probably a little piece of glass can cut through it as easily as a thinner one.

I think all of these flats have been on the rear tire. The three or four this year have been. Probably because more of my weight is over that tire but who knows. One thing I do know is that I never hear a flat tire. If I hear a noise and think, “Oh no, is that going to cause a flat” it never does. Sometimes I hit little pieces of road debris just right and it is sent flying for a couple of feet with a little rubber twang or bang noise. It sounds like something could be bursting but nothing is. A tiny piece of glass cutting through my tire is always silent.

So there you go. One of the hazards of the road. A flat tire. I think they are one of the reasons I like to ride on a circular route. Years ago I’d ride a certain distance out and then turn around and go back the same way I came. Now I ride to the right in a big circular path. I don’t know how close it is to an actual circle but you get the idea. I’m never as far away from home as I’d be on a linear route. That way it’s easier to walk home if I get a flat. And flats do happen.