It’s a fact, if a skinny rider rides 5cm away past a piece of glass there’ll be no problem, but if a fatass cyclist rides 10cm away past the same piece of glass, the glass will jump up and run underneath the bicycle tyre!
When I bought this bike I said to the guy at the shop that I’m going to need better puncture resistant tyres, but he assured me that the ones that are on there would be okay. Well, here’s my history of cycling on this bike so far:
Friday afternoon: 2.5kms around my block
Saturday afternoon: discovered I’ve got a flat tyre from Friday’s ride.
Sunday morning: new inner tube and 1.1km ride before the next puncture and I had to walk home.
NOTE: I should have mentioned that I found the piece of glass in the tyre and removed it, so the second puncture wasn’t a rookie mistake of leaving the culprit in the tyre).
Unfortunately the shop didn’t have any Presta valve tubes, which is what I had on the bike and what we discovered is all that my on-bike pump will handle. The guy told me I probably got a flat because the tyre didn’t have enough pressure and I was eager to go for a ride, so took the chance… and paid the price:)
Oh well… So 2 punctures in the first 3.6kms
Unfortunately this is just the way it goes with heavy riders. I don’t think the glass pieces really run in underneath a fat person’s tyre (although the verdict is still out on that one), but I think if we do ride over a piece of glass, the extra pressure means that there’s a much bigger chance that it’s going to cut through to the inner tube.
Fortunately I’ve been through all this before 9 years ago and here’s how it went:
I was getting a puncture roughly once a fortnight, but often 2-3 in one week with whatever tyre I had on originally, which is just so demotivating! Especially when you’re already unfit and struggling to get into cycling.
Then I changed to Specialized Armadillos and I had a puncture once every few months only. Basically when I did get a puncture it was because a piece of metal or something got into the sidewall of the tyre, I don’t think I ever found one on the flat surface of the tyre.
Quick story about the Armadillos: I was about 70kms into a 110km Saturday ride when I heard and felt a loud thump against my back tyre as a truck came past me. Pulled over and found that a piece of metal had taken a massive piece of rubber off the tyre. I was pretty certain that would be the end of my trip and I’d have to pull a vehicle over to give me a ride home, but hard to believe, I was able to ride back the remaining 30-40kms with no problems. Very, very impressive.
BUT, and this is a big but (single “t” in this case), I was not able to change these tyres myself. When I did get a puncture, I’d have to take it to a shop to get repaired. And I found this comment on a review of these tyres: “Herculean effort to successfully mount the tire” 🙂
Then I changed to Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres and more than 4000kms later when I sold that bike I had not had a single flat again. Of course there’s no such thing as a perfect tyre and there’s a price to pay for the Marathon Plus, it’s called rolling resistance. These Tyres are beasts and you really do feel slower on them than on many other tyres.
At some point I also had Vittoria Randonneurs, but can’t quite remember where they fit into the timeline. Nonetheless, I seem to recall them being pretty good against punctures as well.
It’s probably going to turn out that the Randonneurs are the all round best performers, but I just can’t remember and for now I choose the Schwalbe Marathon Plus so that I can just get on with the other challenges of getting fit and getting back into cycling and forget about punctures. Really is depressing where you want to get into it and you’re not able to cycle on your first two days of having a bike because of punctures. Got a local store checking whether they have the M+ in the correct size for my bike, so who knows – I might just get a ride in today after all.
UPDATE: Got the Marathon Plus tyres fitted. The shop only had one 700×35, so I fit that at the back and put a 700×28 on the front. I ride very upright, so most of my weight is on the back tyre anyway.
So I managed to do a 4.6km ride this afternoon and puncture, yay!! Hopefully that’s the end of that. Still disappointed in how unfit I am. Friday I was pretty disappointed with the 2.5kms, but felt that that was all I could do. Today I got optimistic again and thought I might be able to ride the 8.5kms to the office tomorrow, but after doing 4.6km on a mostly flat area and knowing there are much steeper hills on the way to work, I don’t think I can do it yet.
UPDATE 2 (20/03/2018):
3 for 3 now… Another flat tyre when I got to the bike this afternoon! 3 rides, 3 punctures – even with my favourite Schwalbe Marathon Plus tyres on 🙁
Looks like the guy at the bikeshop folded the tube when he put the new tyres on as I could see the fold and when I put the tube under water, air bubbles were coming out right by the fold and on the inside of the tube – if it was a piece of glass it would have been the outside.
Anyway, very demoralizing to get a flat with every ride!!! I changed tubes myself now and did a 7km ride and hopefully both tyres are still inflated when I get to the bike tomorrow. These punctures are really testing my resolve to get back into cycling, but I’m happy to say that I’m making progress – 7km is my furthest ride yet this week and yesterday at the start of the ride my legs felt tired from the day before, today they got tired on the ride, but felt okay for the first bit.