Russell’s Bicycle Shed

Making Active Travel Easier

What to do about the punctures

AdviceRussell CuttsComment

What a disastrous ride this week for one of our hire bike customers. We do our best to give you a smooth and fun ride out on our fleet of Marin Fairfax bikes but sometimes nature gets the better of us and this time it was a thorny bush along the cycle route out to Rother Valley Country Park. There wasn't just 1 or 2 not even 3 but we finally pulled out 6, yes you read that right 6! nasty thorns out of Robyn's rear tyre. Now our bikes come with Schwalbe puncture resistant tyres but even they couldn't resist the onslaught.

If you ride a bicycle its one of the first pieces of maintenance you learn, and by far its going to help you more than any other in the long term; how to fix a puncture. Regardless of the type of bike you ride if you have pneumatic tyres you'll get punctures there's not much you can do about it but there are things you can do to reduce the number of punctures you get.

The type of tyre you buy will make a big difference, buy cheap expect punctures. Defend yourself by investing in your tyres it will make cycling a lot more enjoyable and less time consuming. For the commuters out there we recommend the Schwalbe Road Cruiser or Schwalbe Marathon Plus but there are lots of choices some from the big names in tyres and some from the smaller companies.

"After 10 years, we have thoroughly overhauled the Marathon Plus. The only true flat-less tire gets a new, dynamic profile and boasts many internal improvements: Rolling resistance. The patented, 5 mm thick SmartGuard layer, when compared to all generic products, has a significant advantage in rolling resistance."

Keeping them pumped up helps too, its counter-intuitive some may say but in reality if something is hard it resists penetration better and with the reduced contact area with the ground it makes punctures less likely.

Adding some extras to the mix can also improve life for you. Dr Sludge is a liquid you add to the inner tube and this will seal any tiny holes created by things like thorns, grrrrr! It can be messy but it could help if you suffer from tiny punctures from glass (common on Sheffield's roads) and thorns (common on routes to Rother Valley Country Park). There are also some tyre liners that introduce an extra barrier between tyre and inner tube. These are best if you change your tyre sizes a lot and they also weigh less than Dr Sludge so good for weight conscious roadies.

Then there is the ultimate protection, something that means you never ever ever get a puncture again. SOLID TYRES. They're nothing new I know, they've been around for decades but they have advanced and now they sit comfortably alongside their air-filled cousins. Tannus Tyres has created a fun, smart and lightweight polymer that can be any colour and comes in various sizes and means you don't have to worry about picking up your bike in a morning only to find you've got a flat, the last thing you need when you are dressed for work and have 10 mins to get to the office, we know, we've been there.

So when its time to replace your tyres, or maybe you are just fed up of the constant punctures take some time to consider what you want next. Solid tyres may not be for you but there are lots of other choices that can really make your life easier. You should be enjoying your ride not fixing a puncture.

Want to know more? Then pop-in to see us, we would be more than happy to show you our range of Schwalbe and Tannus Tyres.