Showing posts with label flat tires. Show all posts
Showing posts with label flat tires. Show all posts

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earring Flattens Bike Tire

Earring Flattens Bike Tire
Flat tire as result of picking up the sharp end of an earring

Another bike commuter showed up while I was parking my bike at work with this earring in her front tire - not her earring, of course. Anyway, it managed to stay in the tire while she rode briefly, letting all the air out just as she came up to the rack.

I hadn't seen that one before - flat tire by jewelry.

Not a great photo - I didn't realize the phone camera was not focusing on the right spot.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Flat Tires? Bike Suspension Instead (1902 Patent)

Flat Tires?  Bike Suspension Instead.
Patent for "...a bicycle-frame so constructed that it is adapted to yield automatically...thereby doing away with the necessity of using pneumatic and puncturable tires..."
Smith, George Washington. Bicycle., patent, March 25, 1902; [Washington D.C.]. ( accessed April 8, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.
The main drawback of bicycles in the U.S. at this time, aside from the continuing rise of popularity of automobiles, was that the tires most commonly supplied on bikes and their associated rims were not easily repaired by owners compared to modern tires with inner tubes. (The rims were relevant since switching to better, more easily repaired tires, required different rims.) As the patent application notes, flat tires were "the cause of great inconvenience to riders." This inventor (George Washington Smith - great name) decided that the main benefits of pneumatic tires was the shock absorbing aspect that could then be replaced by the insertion of what are somewhat like leaf springs in the middle of the bicycle frame. Clever, but perhaps too clever?

One wonders if he really equipped a prototype with solid rubber or otherwise solid replacement tires and tested this out. The pneumatic bicycle tire I suspect is one of those things that is hard to appreciate until you try some alternative. In particular, the amount of shock-absorbing done by a pneumatic tire is easily adjusted by how much pressure the tire is inflated to. A pneumatic tire can easily take most road buzz out of the ride that I think this system would transmit.

Of course the simplest judgment of this idea is rendered by history - while there are certainly some (in fact, many) bikes that have suspensions today, they all have pneumatic tires.

1969 Schwinn Sting-ray Orange Krate 5-speed
Lars Olsen on Flickr - Orange Crate from back in the 1960s with a suspension but also inflatable tires

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Flats Come in Threes??

I have written about this before - it seems often like flat tires "come in threes" - I don't have any for a long while, then boom - in short order, three.

Yesterday about a mile from home I realize the front tire was getting low on air but was not flat. After I stopped and checked it, I continued on, putting my weight as far back as I could, to put it on the rear tire (mostly). I was able to continue about 3/4 of the rest of the way without adding air (and I walked the last bit rather than getting a pump out).

First flat I've had in a while

I was a little worried that I had damaged the tire with this but it seems OK. Overall it probably isn't a smart strategy given that tires are kind of expensive. (Or good ones aren't cheap, anyway.) Now I'm wondering if I will encounter a rash of flat tires in the next few weeks. Hmm. I have seen a lot of glass on the bike trails lately, mostly from broken bottles. I have thought about bringing a little wisk broom, but then where is one supposed to sweep the stuff? If for example I swept glass off the 14th street bridge into the Potomac, is that even legal? Or am I supposed to carry the stuff with me, like a camper?

Patent 574015
An 1896 patent for a possible anti-flat tire system - one example of many . . .

For almost as long as there have been bicycles with pneumatic tires there have been people trying to "solve" the problem of flat tires by "fixing" or improving the design of bicycle tires (and wheels). So far, though, the standard pneumatic bicycle tire with inner tube prevails ~