Jul. 29th, 2015

Yesterday, I was cycling into town when I realised I'd picked up something in my tyre, as I could hear it clicking against the road. It was the broken half of a key. Well, that should be easy enough to fix, I thought, I know exactly where the hole is. So, I fixed it and replaced the tube. It stayed flat. So, I removed it again, found another hole and replaced it. It still wouldn't inflate. Third time, I couldn't find the leak. I was on a busy road and it was windy. I could neither hear the leak nor feel it against my upper lip (my usual method).

So, I walked a couple of miles to where I knew there was a bike shop. Bought a new tube and fitted it. About one mile down the road there was a bang and the tyre was flat once more. I was going to a pilates class and I'd given myself plenty of time, as I'd actually intended going somewhere else first. So, I walked the rest of the way and went to the class.

After the class I tried fixing the original tyre, but it was no good. I found a hole and patched it, but there was yet another leak. So, I removed the 'new' one and fixed that. Even that would not inflate. So, I went over to road to a bike shop and bought another new tube. This was OK, of course, but I couldn't get the tyre to stay on the rim. Feeling somewhat frustrated, I took the whole wheel into the shop and asked the bloke there to look at it. He couldn't fit the tyre either. It was as if the beading that sits in the wheel rim had stretched. Eventually, he fitted a new tyre, leaving me to examine the old one.

The beading around the edge of the tyre did look deformed, so I pulled it. It creaked. Clearly, there was movement between the rubber and the internal steel wire. I then went round the rim trying to feel for a break in the wire. I couldn't feel a single break, but I did discover a strand of the wire sticking through the rubber and into the internal space of the tyre; ie exactly where the inner-tube would be. Obviously, as I'd been wheeling the bike along, post-puncture, this strand had been systematically puncturing the tube as it moved around inside the soft tyre. No wonder there were so many holes. What was amazing was that the original puncture would have just been a single hole. Presumably, it was the stress of deflation that broke the steel wire in the beading.

I've never experienced anything like that before. I wonder if Schwalb (the tyre maker) would take pity on me...?



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