Punctures and luck…

Wilier Cento 1 dirty
Wilier Cento 1 dirty

Touch wood and all that…. The fact is I don’t get many punctures, road or off road. Apart from a pinch puncture blip when I first started riding a 29er I’ve hardly punctured. Is it the quality of equipment, riding style or luck? I don’t know. I like to think that it is the former as anyone can buy that sort of security. It probably is mostly equipment with a combination of the other two. If it is luck then I’d rather transfer this, get a few punctures, and win the lottery!

On my road bike I use Schwalbe Ultremo ZX tyres and I’ve done approx 3,500km on this current set (according to Garmin), over a year and no punctures. They are worth every penny and are as puncture proof as any tyre weighing 195g. In the winter I change to Continental GP Four Seasons as they have more grip. Off road my Kona was set up tubeless and I spent a year or so without flatting but then along came 29ers and, up until I got my BOR wheels, I used tubes. At present I have a Maxxis Ikon EXO (tubeless) rear and the same tyre but with a tube in the front. My rule is to go for light weight over anything else and just take the risk. Heavy tyres slow you down.

So how do I ride? On the road I go through some really crappy stuff as some of our prettiest roads are at the base of the downs. I do avoid the edge of any road preferring to ride where a cars nearside front wheel rolls, it’s the bit that dries out first after rain. I always keep my tyres at 120psi and I’m light over bumps. Keeping an eye on what’s ahead is to be recommended too.

Off road I try to take the smoothest line, I’m very light over bumps trying to float the bike over obstacles rather than hit the root or rock causing the wheel slide out. Riding a hard tail probably helps with this technique. Unlike the road bike I run relatively low pressures 30-35psi depending on the ride. The pinch punctures stopped me over doing it.

So that’s the equipment and technique bit covered, I also keep my bikes very clean (only using a bucket and brushes), so the rest must be down to luck.

I wish I could win the lottery!

I took to the road on Sunday and despite leaving in the rain I had a great ride on roads that I’d not been on before. They say that Le Tour de France is a show case for the beauty of France well they ought to bring it over here again as some of Sussex has got to be as good as a load of France. I’ve put the Garmin link on as you might want to follow this one (with less water on the road – some were flooded despite the sun).

I was wearing Northwave Evolution shorts and jersey with a Pearl Izumi Transfer lite base layer – as comfortable at 7:30 in the rain as I was at 11am in the sun.

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