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Blowout

July 17, 2007 @ 16:59 By: gordon Category: General

image159.jpgI haven’t been out on my bike in quite some time, so when it ended up being a nice evening last night I decided to head out. After topping up the tires, as usual, I headed out to follow one of my usual routes that takes me along the Ottawa River to the Rideau Canal and along to Dow’s Lake before returning home. It was an uneventful ride until I stopped to adjust the seat height. When I got back on there was a sound like a gunshot. After a quick check to confirm that I wasn’t, in fact, being shot at, I discovered that the back tire of my bike had blown the sidewall off the wire. A couple of people walking by at the time said they jumped when it went off.

I rummaged through my saddlebag to see if I had a patch kit. Though I did, I quickly realized that it probably wasn’t going to do the trick. If I’d been in the Middle of Nowhere, I might have attempted it, but I wasn’t so I didn’t. Instead, I called my friend, Bev, who didn’t live too far away and begged a drive home from her. She showed up shortly thereafter and I loaded my bike in the back of her pickup. (Thanks, Bev!)

Before I headed out, I had made sure that I had more than enough money to cover a cab ride home from anywhere I might have been able to ride to. While I usually carry some money with me, I don’t usually carry quite that much. In all the years I’ve been riding, I guess I’ve been fortunate in that I haven’t had a blowout like this before. I recall getting a flat once, but that was caused by a nail or glass and was easily patched an repaired. After that flat, I added kevlar inserts to my tire to make them very puncture resistant. My current tires have kevlar blended into the rubber so they’re very puncture resistent.

When I changed the tire last night, I noticed that it was a slightly smaller profile tire than the one on the other rim. I vaugely recall buying a new tire last year and there being some fuss at the time over the size. The spare tire I had on-hand is the same size as the other one, so hopefully I won’t have any problems with it.

4 Responses to “Blowout”


  1. Bob Knechtel says:

    I was rummaging around looking for more info on some tire recalls in the U.S. and came across your post. Just a word to the wise. In spite of the massive Firestone recall in 2000 and the legislation that followed, dangerous tread separation problems still plague the tire industry. Two recalls just took place, and two recent fatalities were attributed to one imported brand of light truck tires. You may be safer riding a bike.

  2. gordon says:

    Still, the number of people who die because of tread separation is significantly lower than the number of people who die because they don’t wear their seat belts.

    My bike tire probably failed for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it was replaced last year with a slightly smaller profile tire, which had a higher recommended inflation pressure. It was a fairly hot day, the air temperature combined with the temperature of the road and heat from friction, may have been enough to cause the pressure in the tire to exceed the top end of the recommended inflation pressure range.

    Second, it may have been damaged when it was installed. It wouldn’t take much damage to the rubber around the wire in the rim of the tire to weaken it enough to lead to a blowout.

    Am I safer riding a bike? That depends on how you assess such things. If I’m riding on the road, there are dangers I face that wouldn’t be issues to cars, such as sewer grates that are aligned parallel to the direction of travel. If I get hit by a car when I’m on my bike I am much more likely to be injured than if I were hit by another car while driving a car.

  3. anonymous says:

    I was looking for a my bike takes me places shirt and found this on google images. damn… what rims are those?

  4. gordon says:

    Off the top of my head, I can’t tell you, but I’ll try to nip down to the storage room tomorrow and let you know.



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