Sliced Tire

Eli Post

In biking there are many ways that mechanical difficulties will disrupt your ride. Some are widely known like a broken cable or a worn shifter that blocks gear changing. Unfortunately I discovered a new issue to be wary of.

I got multiple flats on the same wheel. Ordinarily I may get a single flat in a season, sometimes none at all. I fixed the flat in each case and twice had to replace the tire, but after a while knew something was up.

Photo by Roy Cervantes, Grace Bicycles.

So the next flat, I took my bike and my wheel to the local bike shop for a full inspection. Turns out the brake clamp was not adjusted properly and was striking the wheel and having a slicing effect on the tire. Who knew! You can say what can go wrong will go wrong, but I have learned and moved on. However, next time I will take stock more quickly on a recurring issue.

After writing this, I wondered if others in the club had similar "unusual" breakdowns, and asked around:

John Allen, CRW Safety Coordinator. Well, there was one time when a piece of a broken glass bottle slashed a tire and I happened to be in street clothes, also carrying a jackknife. I cut off the end of my leather belt to boot the tire. Booting is when you put a piece of something in your tire so the tube does not herniate out of the gaping hole . A boot can be made with anything. A $100 bill, a $1 bill,  or a candy bar wrapper. You just need some material to keep your tube from escaping out the cut.

On the Climb to the Clouds a few years ago, a rider passed me having suffered from a bent chain link, and every three or four turns of the crank, the chain would jump forward. I called out to him and offered to solve his problem. We stopped and I placed my 6" adjustable wrench at one end of the bent link and my chain tool at the other, and straightened it out  He rode away a happy man. Gene Ho provided some pics on how to deal with a broken rear deraiileur cable on the road. Click HERE

Larry Kernan is a freshly former CRW President  In the fall of 2014, my wife Mary and I did a 3,116 mile self-supported ride across the US.  We followed the Southern Tier bike route beginning in San Diego and ending up in St. Augustine, Florida.  On Day 6, riding through the desert in mid-ninety degree temps, we passed through Hope, AZ and continued on to Salome, our destination for the evening.  We pulled into our motel ($51.65 per night including taxes) that looked even more skanky than some previous contenders.  I had been having a problem with my cleats during hot days.  Apparently, the hot weather made the cleats expand sufficiently to make it difficult to unclip.  As I came to a stop on the gravel driveway of the motel, I was again unable to unclip and performed a Keystone Cops dismount.  (OK, I toppled over).  Two Mormon missionaries dressed in black pants, shoes, necktie and white shirt hurried over to offer support.  Aside from some ugly road rash, I was relatively unscathed aside from my pride.  Like most cyclists, my first reaction was, “But, how’s my bike?”  A brake lever jutted awkwardly to the left, but that was quickly bent back in line.  And then there was my saddle, hanging from the post, the rail retention irretrievably demolished.  We attempted the usual bicycle first aid -- lots of duct tape and cable ties.

The next morning, after repairing a flat which appeared on Mary’s bike overnight, we headed off to Wickenburg, AZ.  A note from Mary’s journal: “Larry got on his bike, hoping the saddle would stay in place. He went about 50 yards down the road and shifted in his seat. The saddle flew out from under him and skidded into the street.”  After three attempts to repair the saddle, I gave up and rode the 55 miles to Wickenburg “out of the saddle”, hoping a bump wouldn’t cause me to inadvertently drop onto the seat post for a self-administered proctological examination.

Wickenburg had only a tiny sporting goods shop where I was able to purchase a child’s saddle.  Unbelievably uncomfortable, it was a major improvement over none at all.  Being frugal (Mary calls it cheap) and doing penance for a stupid accident, I passed up the opportunity to buy a real saddle the following day in Tempe.  I continued on for a full week, 362 miles on that miserable saddle before buying a decent replacement in Silver City, New Mexico!

Butch Pemstein: CRW VP for Legal Affairs, It was on a Wednesday Wheeler ride. I was the leader.  We rode in Hubbardston and Rutland and some other areas out there in the relative Boonies. We stopped after the ride at a place in Hubbardston  (now in Templeton), that specializes in Epimediums, a plant that is native to the far east but has been cultivated quite a bit here. We were in the Ware River Reservation. Coming back from the reservoir it became necessary for me to hit the brakes, Now my bike, a red Cannondale that had been well used, reasonably well maintained and fully reliable to that date, became recalcitrant: the rim on the front wheel deteriorated. Yeah, it got holes and it gave 'way, and it made me fall. I felt the rim and it was hot as blazes. After accepting condolences from some of my colleagues, and razzing from all of my colleagues, we called the MDC or perhaps they came by on a regular route, can't recall which,  who gave me a lift to the car and someone else finished leading the route.  Nothing akin to that has happened to me since, but there is always the possibility.

Ken Hablow, Originator of Climb to the Clouds. had several mishaps to report.

It was an idyllic early September cycling day. Jack Donohue, Connie Farb and I set out from Groton to arrow the hilly NH loop of the fall century. We got less than 10 miles out when Connie had a broken rear shifter cable (it is always the rear). We managed to secure the rear derailleur in a ridable gear by winding the cable around the water bottle cage to secure it. She managed to ride the few miles back to the parking lot. Jack, in the meantime, not knowing what happened, rode on. I figured several miles ahead he would realize I was not there, but noooo…. 2 miles from Connie’s mishap Jack had the same problem. He just left the rear derailleur in the small cog and we trudged back. I was bummed, it was such a nice day. The moral of the story is to replace your rear shifter cable every few thousand miles. They generally break inside the shifter and that can lead to having to purchase a new shifter.


I know a rider who carries a small amount of duct tape in his rear bag. He once punctured a tire close to home. Rather than spend the time to patch the tube he merely wrapped the puncture with duct tape – yup! around the rim and the tire, then rode home. I always carry a spare tire and 2 tubes.


As the ride leader on a CRW ride, I was the last to leave the parking lot. I came on 2 couples stopped on the side of the road. One of the women had a flat. I am not sure if none of them knew how to address the problem, or if the guys were just being nasty, but I offered. Luckily she had a new tube. I removed the tire from the rim, then by mouth blew some air in the new tube to make it round before I put it on. She asked me when I was done if I could then blow it up to 100 lbs.


It was a winter day. Jack Donohue and I were on Lost Lake road in Groton coming off route 40 heading to route 225. After the “cow gut” there is a nasty short, steep hill. Jack was behind me. I heard a God awful crack. Turns out his rear derailleur hanger broke off his old Cannondale. Neither of us had a chain tool. The derailleur just swung on the drooping chain. Jack would put the chain on the large cog and start to ride. The chain, of course, kept sliding down to the small cog, then off. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Luckily we were relatively close to his office in Westford where he could phone home for a pickup. I know he was totally frustrated, but I thought it was laughable every time the chain finally slipped off the small cog and he was pedaling at about 150 rpm going nowhere.


Alex Post is a Ride Leader who has a relatively new bike, and was not expecting major issues. "I was looking at the seatpost area in anticipation of getting a rack, when I noticed what appeared to be a crack in the paint. I had to move the bike to good light to see that this crack might even be in the frame itself. I know that riding a bike in this condition is dangerous, so I hauled off to the bike shop where it was declared a total loss. The manufacturer (Cannodale) agreed to replace the frame, but I am bummed out I will miss good riding days. On the other hand, I avoided injury. A final note of irony. I had heard that carbon fiber was subject to catastrophic failure, and decided on aluminum. Even the best laid plans can get wacky."

And then there are those who have lived through it all: