Monday, April 7, 2014

Apr 6 (Day 96) - Flat tire NIGHTMARES!

The plan today was to head west to Morgan City. I accomplished this goal, but it was probably the single worst day I've had yet. I had not one, not two, but three flat tires on the road. I had a fourth IN my hotel room.

Let's go through this one flat at a time. Before we do this, it will be helpful to understand my tire nomenclature. I have 3 tires: front, rear, and spare.

Flat #1: This occurred about 1 hour into the ride. It was caused by a 3" nail piercing right through the rear tire. Since the nail went right through the rear tire, I figured I would throw on my spare tire to replace it.

Out of focus, but you get the idea

Flat #2 occurred less than 10 minutes after flat #1. There was a very small pinhole in the inner tube inside the spare tire, but I could not find anything poking through the tire itself. I just popped in a new tube and continued down the road.

Flat #3 occurred 2 minutes after flat #2. It occurred in the same place on the spare as #2, so I more carefully checked that area. I found a tiny glass shard poking through the spare. This was clearly responsible for both flats #2 and #3. Flat #2 was bad luck, but flat #3 was my fault for not catching the piece of glass after flat #2.

At this point the front tire and inner tube were still intact, but the rear tire and the spare were both punctured. I had did have one extra tube left, but I realistically could not put it in either of the damaged tires and expect it last very long. I decided I needed to patch the rear tire with a credit card and duct tape. However, just as I set out to do this, a car pulled up and a man asked if I was OK. I told him that I was not, and he offered to help. He, Chris Keran, was a cyclist who lived just down the street. He had some stuff I might find helpful. He returned to his house and grabbed both a tire patch set (good for 3 tires) and a tube repair kit (good for 5-6 tubes). I used one tire patch to fix the rear tire, and I put my last remaining tube into it. Miraculously, this patch help until I reached my destination. Whew!

Chris to the rescue!

Flat #4 occurred IN my hotel room an hour AFTER I arrived. I was watching TV, and all of a sudden I heard a loud hissing noise. I looked over to see the patched rear tire and my last intact tube going flat. What the heck was happening?!?!?!?! I removed this tire and found another small piece of glass poking through this already patched rear tire at another spot. I was incredible lucky that I was able to make it to my destination before this inevitable result occurred. Why the rear tire "decided" to go flat while the bike was stationary against the wall is beyond me. Just to be thorough, I decided to check the front tire even though it looked OK. I found a rock fragment that had poked through this tire, but had not yet punctured the tube. 

At this point I had:

A rear tire with a patched hole and a new hole
A front tire with a single hole 
A spare tire with a hole
3 tubes with holes, 1 apparently intact tube 

I patched the second hole in the rear tire as well as the hole I found in the front tire. I also patched 2 of the tubes. Who knows how well any of this will work. The nearest bike store is 70 miles away in Lafayette. I doubt that my shredded tubes and tires will get me to where I can replace everything. I am not sure what to do at the moment. I could try riding tomorrow, but if my gear fails me,  I will be forced into a car. I could have supplies overnighted to me, but I am in such a remote area that I doubt I can have anything overnighted here. I might be able to replace the tires at Walmart (5 miles away), but I will certainly not be able to get more of my specialized Presta valve tubes at that same stop. This is a royal headache and could cost me multiple days. 

I do not know what I am going to do. I did ride ~83 miles today in between all this nonsense.


  1. Sue, the Florida Farm GirlApril 7, 2014 at 12:32 AM

    Sorry you're beset by tire issues. Hope you get the replacements bright and early tomorrow and can be on your way. Friends are headed off to High Island tomorrow, and I'll be headed there on the 14th. There's an expectation that we might have fallout conditions here tomorrow but I'll miss it because of other obligations. Keep your eyes open, cause you never know what you're going to see at this time of the year out where you are.

  2. Ugh! Flat bike tires-- those, and mosquitoes, are some of my least favorite things. Stay strong, Dorian!

  3. Flat tires stink. Glass is everywhere. A super bike guy showed me how to carefully examine your tire (the outside) while it is tubeless and off the bike after a flat, bending it , rolling it from side to side (in your hand) looking for glass shards, and using something pointy (I use the tip of a little knife) to flick them out. Hard to describe in words, rather than show, but maybe useful.

    What a drag your day was.

  4. Bummer! But I'm glad to hear that you patched up the tubes. As you patch more, you'll develop some confidence that the patched tube should be just as strong as a new tube. My back tube currently has two patches and has been going strong for the last 400 miles, on and off road and with plenty of gear. No need to buy new tube after new tube when you've patched things up well. Keep it up -- I can't wait to ride with you in California!