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Old 08-31-2011, 02:56 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Again, Don't Ride with Bald Tires!

This morning, I'm on the way to work. Beautiful morning, by the way, about, I don't know, maybe 68 degrees? I'm heading north on the I-395 HOV ('car pool') lanes to DC, very little traffic on the HOV lanes, which will change next week when school starts again. The Bonnie is singing along about 70-80mph. Nice wide fast right hand sweeper, just before the Pentagon, I'm in the passing lane because, well, I am passing cagers. Then, "Hey, what the . . .?" I see a car stopped in my lane with hazard lights blinking. I am far back enough that I don't have to quick stop, and as I pull around to the right I notice a big cruiser down in front of the car and the dude is trying to get up. I pull back over in front of his bike to the left shoulder (barely narrow enough for my bike) jump off and help the poor guy up. Behind his bike I see a 10 foot long gouge in the pavement. Yikes.

So I help the guy up, he's a bit shocked, but not hurt, really. His dress slacks (first mistake) are torn, his dress shoe (second mistake) is torn up too. A bit of rash on his lower leg, but not really too bad. I say, "Are you alright? Did that car clip you?" He says, "No, my front tire went flat, I lost control then went down" (he's lucky that car wasn't tailgating him. squish city otherwise). Big Heavy Yamaha Cruiser, Crash Bars, Saddle bags, etc. Not any real damage to the bike.

But I looked at the tire, and I said to myself, "Self, that looks like a racing slick!" I mean there was hardly any tread left, and what was left was on the right side of the tire. The guys looks too and says, "I didn't realize my tire was so bald!" (very very obvious biggest mistake).

So we pushed the beast to the shoulder, and I try to settle the guy down. The car blocking leaves the scene, which I didn't like because there really wasn't much room there. I keep my helmet on my head. I look at the tire, don't see any holes or anything. He says, "I don't know what to do. What do you do when you have a flat tire on a bike." I say, "Well, you get it fixed." So I notice the guy has a heated jacket liner or vest because I see the Gerbings controller hanging out of his jacket (I'm thinking, "What? It's beautiful out, why heated gear?"). And I say, "I have an air pump, let's see if we can't air it up a bit and get a better look. We can plug it in to that lead right there...." (I'm hoping he has a big fuse on that lead, air pumps draw amps, man).

I get the pump (oh, I carry the pump a lot. if I don't carry it, I'll get a flat. Murphy hates me), plug it in, start to air up the tire, but nothing. Now, I don't really want to do this, we are not in a safe place. I'm hoping a cop comes soon. But no air going into the tire. It appeared to me that the bead was broken. Dude is going to have to get towed....he should get towed, he was too shaken to ride, he was talking about pushing the bike to the next exit! No way where we were.

Cop comes up behind, lights flashing, thank goodness. Cop offers to call flatbed, I tell the guy about a bike shop fairly close. He shakes my hand, thanks me, and I am back on the road, wondering why on earth was this dude riding on that bald tire. I'm glad he wasn't really hurt, it could have been way ugly.
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Old 08-31-2011, 04:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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...... good on you for stopping to assist. Yes there is a moral to the story for sure.
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Old 08-31-2011, 04:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Sounds like a cager on his first bike. When I first started riding I'd try & squeeze as much wear out of my tyres as I got out of my cage. I soon learned the stupidity of such economies, & now replace my tyres at the first sign of slippage, on both my bikes & my cages.
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Old 08-31-2011, 04:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Ah yes, Baldini's - a very popular type of tire but not one I'd chose for my ride!! Yer so sweet to stop and help him!!
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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And don't feel bad or strange, I carry a pump, a bottle of Slime, and a tool kit. And a phone and credit card. I'm not stupid. Or patching a tube.
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Old 08-31-2011, 06:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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He did seem like he hadn't been riding long. He was younger than me so I could have given him a lecture. I held my tongue. Not the right time and I think he understood the lesson loud and clear.

A buddy of mine at work said he should have spent the money on new tires rather than the Gerbings heated gear. That sums it up really well.
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Several folks I ride with regularly have at times had suspect tires on the front of their bikes. The old, "wow, I never thought they were that bad" response floors me every time!

It seems they always notice their tires are magically worm out right after someone points it out to them at the furthest point away from home and they proceed to nervously ride home.


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Old 08-31-2011, 07:19 PM   #8 (permalink)
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My tires are almost done. The stock Front Metzeler has a bit to go but the back is,...not bald but the tread is just about there.

I have two new tires and tubes waiting to go,...but I think I can go a bit more.

17, 200 KM on the stock Metzelers and counting
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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That's amazing mileage. You must be very gentle on your tyres. But don't you think you've got your money's worth out of them? Squeezing out those last few klms could be very costly. False economy in my book.
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Old 08-31-2011, 07:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Stay out of downpours! I've also found that most flats happen in the last 25% of a tires life, that, if nothing else gets me to change the tires, that and the feel of new tires!!!!


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