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We've had an unusually wet winter and flooding has been a problem in my area. Now that the weather has improved and cycling is possible/pleasurable again I'm finding I'm getting many more punctures than I would normally. The kids too, on their bikes.

Is this just a run of bad luck or is there a connection with the wet winter? Has the flooding washed more debris onto the road? Perhaps this is a well known problem but I haven't noticed it before.

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My observation (before I switched to belted tires) was that I was more likely to get a glass puncture when the road was wet. I suspect this has to do with lubricating the glass, and possibly the water holding the glass particles upright somehow. Other punctures (tacks, wire, etc) seem to occur in any weather. –  Daniel R Hicks Mar 5 at 16:45
    
Not limited to bikes - cars are as well. –  mattnz Mar 5 at 22:19

3 Answers 3

Yes, it's because the rain washes more debris onto the road which can then cause punctures. The wet tyres are also easier to damage (couldn't find out why but I guess because it softens the rubber)

Source: Bicycle by Helen Pidd

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wet rubber isn't any softer, but the water helps sharp debris stick to the tires, and works itself under the tires bead. –  BrianC Mar 5 at 21:05
    
Also water makes a fantastic lubricant so pointy things slide in easier. –  mattnz Mar 5 at 22:18
    
I would also think that if the road is still wet, it makes it hard to see debris on the road, thereby making it harder to avoid. broken glass on the road tends to stand out on a dry road in the sun. On a wet road it's much harder to see. –  Kibbee Mar 6 at 13:52

When the tires are wet the debris sticks to it. A lot gets thrown off as the wheel rotates but any that is sharp and that survives one turn of the wheel gets hammered in when it hits the road. As @mattnz said, the water also lubricates the sharp object as it goes in.

In another answer, I have recommended to brush your tires, but that it not really feasible in the wet because the debris is mostly invisible.

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You can buy or make tyre wipes that install instead of mudguards, and work to sweep off the water as well as the glass and grid. But not mud, obviously. –  Nuі Apr 17 at 5:42

It is possible. But also mind that your tires are perhaps more worn down than a year ago and/or they are not sufficiently pumped up (or whatever it is called in english)?

A good new tire with 2-6 Bar (or 6-9 Bar with racing-bikes) of air pressure has less chance of being punctured than an older tire or an tire with less than 2 bar of air pressure.

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