Monday, 1 September 2008


The puncture that I got on Saturday was the third on this bike in almost 2,000 miles. There is probably some clever statistical formula for working out when to expect the next, but using simple rules of thumb, that's an average of one puncture every 650 miles or so. If I get another tomorrow it will be one every 500 miles, and up to Saturday it was roughly one every 1,000 miles. Although I do most of my riding on country roads, all of the punctures have been in towns, and all of them have been caused by little nails going through the tyre.

On the assumption that punctures are more likely in towns, I guess people who commute by bike experience more, unless they take some kind of preventative action. On my previous bike, after several puncture in rapid succession, I changed to more knobbly tyres, and put a kevlar strip inside the tyre, and never had another puncture. On this bike, covering longer distances, with a puncture every 650 miles, I'm inclined to put up with the inconvenience.

On a longer outing I try to remember to take a set of tyre levers and some adhesive patches with me to do a temporary fix. On a shorter ride I don't normally bother. So far that has worked out fine - all my punctures have been on a longer journey when I've had the repair kit with me, and I've managed to patch things up well enough to get home. I'm normally left with a slow leak, and a tyre that keeps going soft. So when I get a chance, I have subsequently replaced the inner tube. On the only occassion when the temporary fix failed I was only half a mile from a bike shop, so it was easy to replace the inner tube there and then. If all else fails I'm rarely more than an hour or two from home by foot and public transport, but I've not had to resort to that - yet.

So after the helpful responses to my question on roundabouts, I'm left wondering how this compares with other experiences and other approaches. Bearing in mind the kind of riding that I am doing, am I lucky, or unlucky to be getting a puncture every 650 miles or so? Is there a better solution than a temporary fix with an adhesive patch?


Martin said...

That doesn't seem a bad average. Take a spare inner tube to swap over with the punctured one, then fix the other at home in comfort with a cup of tea.

gom1 said...

How do you fix a puncture with a cup of tea?

Anonymous said...

I started using Bontrager tubes with genuine Slime in recently. After I'd had them in a while, I hit something on the road - it felt hard and pointy through the bike although I didn't see what it was. I mostly noticed the impact through the rear wheel but shortly afterwards my front tire deflated.

Perhaps I'd run over some broken glass, with my rear hitting a large chunk and my front hitting a smaller, sharp piece.

Anyhow, my steering went funny after riding a bit and I stopped and found the tyre was rather flat. I pumped it up, it stayed solid, I rode off. I've not bothered looking in it to see what happened, it's stayed inflated quite well anyhow.

Slime doesn't always work that well but I was definitely glad to have it that night! It got me home with minimal delay.

randomjunk said...

Good bit of kevlar seems to help. I've got Armadillo tyres on my bike. I commute through central london and am so far on 2500 miles per puncture. That's just one puncture so far and it was a random 4 inch piece of metal with a 1 inch jagged rusty spike. I went over it at about 25mph and it ripped my inner tube to shreds -- luckily I always carry a spare.