Friday, 11 July 2014

Urban Rider

Shrader (Car tire valve)
Riding the bike has had its challenges.  Someone left the bottom of a beer bottle on the bike path, I failed to miss it.  So now I have a flat.  I didn't anticipate a flat tire already and it's the start of summer.  Calling around, most places don't carry fat tires and if they do.... they don't have tubes in stock.  I kept calling around and I finally found a place that had some, not only did they have some.. they had spares!

Presta Valve
So I ended up putting a Surley fat tube in the back.  First challenge, it went from a (I think it's called shader valve) to a Presta Valve (bottom valve). So none of my pumps had the adapter, so off to Canadian tire.  I ended up picking up a new bike pump, this time with a pressure gauge on it, since the PSI is so low.

After I got the tube in, I tightened that screw on the Presta valve right tight to the frame of the rim.  And off I went.. for a few days.  Then the tire started to get low.  So I pumped it up.  2 days later, the tire is flat again.  So I pumped it up.  1 day later, the tire is flat. So I pumped it up.. but this was starting to get annoying.  So I went back to the bike shop where I got the tube installed and inquired if the new "presta" valve were a little leaker then the older style..    The employee looked at me like I had two heads.. but then answered the question.  (which was no..)

So after buying a longer steam for the handle bars, I left the store and would you believe it.. My tire was FLAT.. and well, on the ground.

I waltz back into the store and asked if they had time to look at the bike, as the for mentioned tire issue just appeared again.  The clerk looked at the clock and said he didn't have any time.. then I convinced him to at least pump up the tire with his compressor, which should get me home at least.. Still had another 30km to go.  Going to the store was really out of my way.

So the clerk tried to put air in my tire and he discovered that my valve had ripped right off from the tube.  I mean, right off!  So no matter how much air.. it's going to go flat, fast.  The clerk took pitty on me and decided to work on the bike after all. Which I was VERY thankful for.  (Plug Tall Tree Cycles is an amazing store with very helpful people)

And off I went, this time I left the nut loose so it could go up and down a bit, when I hit a pot hole..  I'm still filling up the new tube every two/three days but I think the presta valve on the replacement, replacement, tube is warped.  I bought another tube from ebay (again Surley) and I'm hoping to have some time to get them to put that one in... Each time, costing me about $40.

Lessons Learned:
  1. Always have a spare tube.
  2. Always check the pressure of the tire before riding.
  3. Don't tighten the nut on the Presta valve, give it some slack.
  4. The motor should have a quick release connector from the bike, other wise it's a major pain to do your own tube replacements.  With no quick disconnect, the job is a two person job.. one to hold the tire in place and the other to do the actual tire replacement.


  1. Just stopping by after you've visited my blog and am quite impressed with what you're doing. To embark on the journey you've described in your earlier posts is inspirational and impressive. Best of luck to you in reaching your riding and weight goals. As someone who spent a lot of years behind a desk before deciding to change my life to improve my health, I can affirm that finding something that you enjoy doing that also benefits you is much better than forcing yourself to go to a gym or other activity that feels like a chore, or adhering to an improbable diet.

    From your tire and tube woes, I would say that you're a good candidate for going tubeless. I am by no means an expert, but you might take a look at Nicholas Carman's blog Gypsy by Trade. He has extensive experience riding fatbikes and also converting them to tubeless. If you haven't seen it already, you might take a look at his recent post concerning tubeless fat projects.
    He also has more extensive posts that you can find if you search his site.

    As far as valves go, I've used Presta for years because it is less likely to be cut by the rim than Schraeder, but it has some limitations. If you go tubeless, it's probably best to go with Schraeder because of the removable valve core, easy air compressor inflation, and because you can use a car tire valve assembly. However, it will likely take some tinkering to get your rims to play nicely with tires that aren't specifically designed to go tubeless. Never fear, though, many others have made it work with no more experience than you have, if you decide to go that route.

    Also, I couldn't tell if you had to replace the tire. Depending on how severe a cut is to the tire, it's possible to stitch it back together using an upholstery needle and dental floss or other sturdy thread. Fat tires are expensive.

    Anyway, I look forward to seeing how your adventures go.


    1. Thanks Andy, some of your articles are very informative. I have a young girl, whom I've been getting into biking. I'm still behind a desk while at work, but that's not stopping me! :)

      I fixed the rubber with some car tire sealant stuff. Have to burn it, liquefies and then solidifies. The tear was in an open spot, so it wasn't to bad to fix. However I'm thinking of replacing the rubber for a more Urban style riding.