Monday, April 17, 2006

Broken Glass

The weather has been fantastic and I've gotten in plenty of rides. I rode to work three times last week. I rode with the Hiawatha Cyclery bunch on Saturday. They had 13 people on the ride. Nice people and a fun collection of bikes. I didn't see any carbon or sti on the ride.

As I noticed the buds were showing on the trees and bushes, I also noticed another thing I see primarily in the spring; broken glass is everywhere. I see glass all year long, but I see much more in the spring. I've only had one flat -- strike that -- two flats so far. I'm not riding the armadillo tires with Mr. Tuffies and Slime tubes this year, so I should expect a few flats anyway.

Why is there so much broken glass in the spring? I'm not sure, but I guess it's because kids are out partying and throwing bottles from their cars. That's my guess, because I did the same thing when I was in high school. Stupid. Each flat I receive is a little payback from my dumb mistakes. Get the Slime tubes.

Every way one tries to minimize or eliminate flats has a drawback or two. Slime is good, because it usually heals itself. Its bad because it leaks Slime. (I'm not counting weight as a drawback, because I don't care about it.) Mr. Tuffies are good, because they stop large and small objects from penetrating the tread of your tires. They don't protect the sidewall and they kill the ride qualities of the tires. Usually, I've put lots of thought into which tires I ride based on ride qualities. It's really sad to kill all that work with Mr. Tuffies. Armored tires are pretty good at stopping most flats. They can still get flats, but the seem to ward off the common causes of flats like glass chips and thorns. They don't feel as good as similar non-armored tires, but it's not too much of a trade off for flat protection.

I used to ride through a neighborhood that had more broken glass per square foot that I've ever seen. After a couple of flats, I bought Armadillo tires. After another flat, I bought Slime tubes. After a couple more, I bought Mr. Tuffies. With those three items aligned against the glass, I could ride through patches of broken bottles with impunity. I was impervious to flats. When I replaced the tire due to worn out tread, I found lots of glass chips embedded in the tire. I also found many large cuts on the tire. That system worked to prevent flats, but the bike rode like it had solid cement tires. I don't remember the pressure I was riding with though.

This year, I'm starting with no flat protection and I'll see how it goes.

Last night, (Sunday) I rode two hours on the atb/commuter. I think that will be my bike of choice for the Minnesota Ironman bike ride. I'm doing it with a couple of friends and I'd like to ride a similar bike just so we're all in the same mindset. If they are on atb/commuters and I'm on a drop-bar racer style bike, I'll be out of touch and surging ahead the whole time. That's no way to ride with friends.

I'd like to make one change to the bike before the ride. I'd like to put some 1.25 inch smooth tires on it. It currently is running 1.5" Ritchey megabites or something like that. The Ritchey have thick tread and feel a bit squirmy with all that rubber. I'd like a thinner tread for a bit more supple feel. Maybe I'll remove the fenders if no rain is forecast.

1 comment:

Sophzilla said...

I don't know what Mr. Tuffies or slime are but they do make me laugh! Maybe you need to install a sweeper or blower in front of your bike to keep the glass shards out of your way. I'm sure it would be safe.

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