name the thingy (flat prevention)
I recently heard that they used to make a part for bikes that I really wish they still made.
I’m not sure what it looked like or what it was made of, but it went across your tire, just barely missing touching it, probably attached to the fork near the brakes.
The idea was that when you get these little sharp pieces of stuff (glass, little rocks, etc) stuck into your tire but not yet having made their way into your tube, this thing would knock them off before they’d get a chance to give you a flat.
Anyone know anything about these? Did they work? What are they called?
I was telling a friend about them and he said, “I bet you could find a pair on ebay.” Probably not without knowing what they’re called.
Anyway, I think they’re only compatible if you have certain types of brakes, not sure of the details.
For now, I just put a pair of Mr Tuffys (or one of Mr Tuffy’s competitors, actually) into my tires. I have fixed way more than enough flats for one bike-riding lifetime.
It’s a very uncommon edge case that I’m not too worried about. Is this sort of thing common for you? If you get a lot of flats on a certain stretch of road, you should call 311 and have them sweep it.
I’m not always sure where I get them, especially since I suspect some of them are working their way in over time and by the time the tire starts going flat I’ve long passed the culprit.
There are a couple areas near where I live that are pretty bad though – maybe I’ll get my nerve up and call.
It’s weird, I read the advocacy stuff here and I’m always like “yeah, we definitely deserve these things, etc” but then when I’m actually dealing with a bike lane full of glass shards, there’s this weird feeling of (1) “yeah this sucks” but (2) not being able to imagine that anyone should do anything about it.
I’ve actually considered just getting out there with a broom.
Will have to keep working on that. (the mindset, not sweeping the streets.)
What I’ve been doing lately is just pulling over after going through something unavoidable and brushing off both tires by hand.
311 also has a webform if you don’t want to talk to people.
I used to use those things. It’s hard to say if they worked or not, I’ve never gotten so many flats that it was worth investigating, I think they faded with the availability of better tires. But if you get a lot of flats, and they are through the tread area, it might be worth trying. Some could easily be made from old spokes, might be a way to recycle some. They attach to any road type brake at the mounting bolt – not cantilevers or V-brakes. I could do a sketch if you want to give it a try.
Oh, and if I notice that I’ve ridden through some junk, I just brush the tread with my hand while I’m riding, though maybe everyone wouldn’t want to try that. It helps because it feels like I’m giving my tires some love.
@edmonds59 !!!! That sounds like a terrible idea! I do not like small pieces of glass or metal in my palm
Hey, just because something is a terrible idea doesn’t mean I won’t give it a shot.
But really, I’ve never gotten cut doing it, and I can tell whether or not I’ve actually knocked anything off.
Like I said, not necessarily recommending the technique to anyone.
How well do kevlar tires actually work for your case? I don’t have any, but I’ve had them on rented bikes before and they seemed to work fairly well for me.
I go with the look-like-an-idiot technique. Slow to about 8mph and coast for a few rotations with one foot on the wheel.
My thinking on kevlar, or other types of built in puncture protection, is that they have gotten to the point where you are not paying any penalty in more weight (unless you’re a crazy gram counting racer wannabe) or cost, so get them.
I used to have some tire savers- they were wire, attached to the central brake bolt, and used rubber tubing as the flexible part. I can’t say how well they worked. I too wipe off my tires after riding through some glass, but I ALWAYS wear gloves when I ride. I feel as naked without them as I do without a helmet. I have called the city a few times afte rthier recyclign truck dropped little piles of shards at every stop on my street, but ended up sweeping them up myself.
“@edmonds59 !!!! That sounds like a terrible idea! I do not like small pieces of glass or metal in my palm”
I agree. I was once on a ride where a guy, after reaching the summit of a very large hill, decided to brush some bits of glass that we just rolled through off his tires, before descending down the huge hill. He had gloves on, and wasn’t moving very fast. Just reached down and held his hand down to touch the tire for a rotation or two to get all the glass bits off. He ended up slicing through the glove, and his hand. Stitches numbered in the double digits, and we were 40ish miles from the nearest hospital. A bad idea is an understatement.
!!! whoa !!! Maybe I’ll try crafting up some of those old tire savers some time. Have a skill to fall back on.
@edmonds: thanks for the offer of a sketch. Once reddan said what they’re called, I was able to find some images online (qbike.com for one). And the thing about using your hand -yikes! I have a friend who does that. He’s got alot more coordination/dexterity than I do, sounds like you do too (congratulations). If I tried that on the back wheel I’d probably get sucked down into the rear triangle. “How’d she die?”
On the other hand, anything labeled “look like an idiot” has a certain draw for me. Thanks Joe.
@helen: me too with the gloves. I absentmindedly left the house without them once, rode for about a block and a half and then just sort of froze – “What am I *doing*?” Rode back home and put them on. I was actually kind of shocked that the feel of my hands against the handlebars didn’t get my attention immediately. Must have been thinking about something really important (cough.)
in my opinion, kevlar tires are the way to go. part of my commute includes a side street in oakland with tons of tiny pieces of glass and i have yet to get a flat.
When I was little I was swinging as high as I could on a playground swing, jumped off at the zenith, and got one finger caught in the chain on the way off, tore up some tendons, etc. So every injury since then has been sort of, “eh, what else ya got?”, anticlimactic.
He ended up slicing through the glove, and his hand. Stitches numbered in the double digits, and we were 40ish miles from the nearest hospital.
Some of us really know how to have a good time.
Does anyone else find that using really thin slicks and keeping them around 120 prevents flats?
I don’t do anything different now except run a smaller tire and I haven’t had a flat since!
Can anyone drop some cold, hard science on me about this?
i haven’t had anything but pinch flats for a long long time… maybe 4 or 5 years
tiresavers are a necessity if you live in an area that has goathead thorns. But they don’t seem to help that much with glass.
I used to do the brushing off thing with my (gloved) hand, but I’ve come to believe that one of these days I’m going to be tired or low on blood sugar and stick my fingers in the spokes. So I got out of that habit.
Glass is particularly troublesome when the roads are wet. A little lubrication lets the glass slice right through the rubber.
I am continually amazed at how much broken glass ends up on bike paths and sidewalks. Imagine if cyclists started throwing caltrops on the roads they ride by — there would be a tremendous outcry.
@lyle Imagine if cyclists started throwing caltrops on the roads they ride by
Sounds good to me!
Actually, a big reason the roads themselves are clear is that car tires crush and pick up the debris.
It’s astonishing how robust the modern tire is.
I had a spree of like 3 flats in a week, and found the culprit chunklet of glass all 3 times. I think it’s a crappy tire.
I cut up an old tube and lined the inside of that tire with it. Haven’t gotten a flat on it since.
@Spakbros there is no reason why your decisions would impact the number of flats. I suspect either a) you were getting a lot of pinch flats or b) you ride in a different manner because of the tires (eg not in the gutter) and therefore pick up less junk.
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