Delaware’s roads are full of sharps – glass shards, nails, screws, crash debris, staples, it’s all out there just waiting to penetrate your tires and tubes. During the winter, what’s worse than a puncture when the temperatures are barely above the freezing mark? This one issue alone keeps many potential commuters from bicycling as a transportation means. Here are some tips on how to reduce or even eliminate this problem:
* Tire liners (aka “Tuffy Strips”) can drastically increase a tires puncture resistance. Be sure to purchase the correct diameter and width for your rim size, and cut the strip down in length to minimize overlap inside the tire. Once inserted between tire and tube and remounted, “seat” the liner by inflating to only 1-2 lbs PSI, then roll a few full rotations on the floor pushing down flat. Then inflate to maximum PSI.
* Slime tubes very effectively self-seal punctures and cuts up to 1/8” long. Often, you will not know you even had one until you take the tire apart for some other reason. You may even find several.
For the last 7 years, the author has combined both tire liners and slime filled tubes in 26×1.5″ tires, and has not since been left at the roadside. Even here, when an object did manage to pierce the tire casing AND the “Mr Tuffy” liner, it was not discovered until months later when the tire was removed for a different reason.
* Tires using Air Free technology completely eliminates the possibility of flat tires. The ride is somewhat harsher, however, the ability to ride through anything – even razor blades – make these tires a preferred option for some.
Increased maintenance would also help. DelDOT sweeps most Delaware roads 3 times per year, with additional sweeps upon request. Be sure to inform them of any chronic debris problems along your commute by using their on-line form.