8

I want to share my experience and ask for some further question on this issue.

I was on a roadtrip as I found out that tyre on my rear wheel was worn out. I could clearly see the threading (if this is correct name for that) on the side walls of the tyre near the rim. I swapped front and rear tyre to have the weak one in front because it gets less pressure. Was this correct thing to do? Also, should I have deflated the air pressure in tube when I saw this?

After some time, the tube punctured. As I examined it, the whole one side of the tube was worn out because the threading of the tyre rubbed against it. So there was a full circle of worn out material. Therefor, I didn't want to patch the tube because it seemed like it was already too weak.

What I did was cut that tube entirely open, wrapped it around new tube, stick it in place with some ducktape, and then put that tube inside a tyre. That way, the tyre could only rub on the outer tube, deform it, and perhaps even puncture it again, but the hole would have been too small to let the tyre reach the inner tube, and it seemed like pretty smart fix. What do you think about that?

Unfortunately, after some time, the tyre got so worn out that the threading start to break and a hole was made in the side wall. So, the tubes popped out of the tyre completely in form of a little ballon. At that point I had to stop and seek for new tyre.

But, I was in remote area and there were no bike shops, so I got some old tyre from some random guy that was also kind of worn out. It was worn out on the top wall (if that is the name of the part of the tyre where it touches the ground), but not as much as my old one. I put his tyre and it almost got me to a place where I could buy a proper new tyre when again the tube popped out in form of a ballon.

Then, I deflated the tube almost completely and walked the bicycle to the bike shop. Should and could I have put both my old and his old tyre to prevent leak of the tube? It seemed like a good idea, especially because they were damaged at different places, but I didn't want to risk some other stupid thing that might have happened. If that would have been a good idea, what about if the tyres were damaged at the same spot? Would then make sense having both of them? Two tyres and two tubes does sound ridiculous but in the means of necessity a lot of things cross my mind.

Also, I appreciate any other guidance on what to do in similar situation, or any sharing of your own personal experience.


Later:

Boot is something I wasn't aware that could be done and it sounds like a smart fix for a hole in the tyre. In my case, the threading of the tyre was damaged on the whole circumference of the sidewall, not from debris as Weiwen has assumed, just from being worn out. In that light, I think that old tube wrapped around new tube was better solution since there was no hole in the beginning. Of course, once the hole was made in a part of sidewall, I should have made a boot.

For some comments: I know I should have checked everything beforehand. I didn't. I hope this discussion will help someone other who gets into similar situation. Whether because he was stupid like me and didn't prepare, or did prepare but some bastard stole his panniers with equipment :-)

  • The “top wall” is the tread of the tire. It is glued to a tire casing. – Weiwen Ng Jun 25 at 18:15
  • Put two tires on top of each other? – Jpe61 Jun 25 at 21:42
  • You need to be more prepared. I suggest you lay out every item you normally pack along these rides, and see what you're missing. Do you have a chain tool, quicklinks, a spare hanger, tubes and stickers, etc etc. – Criggie Jun 25 at 22:55
  • I appreciate all the answers. Thank you all. Especially Argenti and Weiwen, I didn't read the articles you provided, but I will soon. Also, I appreciate any further constructive thoughts on this matter. – user50327 Jun 26 at 0:12
  • 1
    When planning a longer trip don't leave with tyres that are almost at the end of their life. – Carel Jun 26 at 14:53
11

There are several questions here.

You were on a road trip and found a hole in your tire...

I swapped front and rear tyre to have the weak one in front because it gets less pressure. Was this correct thing to do? Also, should I have deflated the air pressure in tube when I saw this?

And...

Should and could I have put both my old and his old tyre to prevent leak of the tube? It seemed like a good idea, especially because they were damaged at different places, but I didn't want to risk some other stupid thing that might have happened. If that would have been a good idea, what about if the tyres were damaged at the same spot? Would then make sense having both of them?

To summarize:
You found yourself in a bad situation and improvised several amazing solutions using what you had on hand to get a little further down the road until you had no choice but to walk.

Your solutions were the best you could do in the situation.

Suggestions:
Do an equipment check and solve problems before you start your road trip. Identifying marginal tires, brake pads, etc. and doing basic maintenance before you start on a trip will reduce (not eliminate) issues on the road.

What your bring in the way of spares and tools depends on how long your trip is.

You brought a spare tube and the tools to install and inflate it - which is excellent. On your next trip consider bringing a spare tire. As a rule of thumb its nice to have a spare tire if you are going to be riding further from home than you want to walk back. Even if your tire is new they can be damaged while riding in a way that requires replacement.

enter image description here

| improve this answer | |
  • 4
    Spare tyre? Who does that if not riding tubs? Many are not even foldable. – Vladimir F Jun 26 at 6:29
  • 1
    -1, doesn’t answer the question and a spare tyre is overkill unless you are riding offroad (or on very bad roads) or the tyres are worn/bad to begin with. – Michael Jun 26 at 10:55
  • 1
    @VladimirF if you're going on a road trip and you know that bike shops will be few and far between, you bring spare tires - plural. I grew up in the north west US. I could simply do an out an back for a couple hours each way with a plan to be home that night, but not only be too far from a bike shop to get a quick replacement, but far enough from civilization that it would be 2 days before a car passed to give me a ride back home. (This was also before cell phones.) – FreeMan Jun 26 at 16:15
  • @Michael it does answer the question, the best it can be answered. This is really an opinion based/open discussion question that should be off-topic. This addresses what the OP did (was swapping tires front to rear the right thing to do), and "You did the right thing" in response to "what do you think about that" (inherently OT). Then it offers suggestions on what to do in the future - be more prepared. Can't do much better than that on a "Discussion" question. – FreeMan Jun 26 at 16:18
  • 1
    @FreeMan: I don’t think it’s just a discussion. I think most of us would agree that putting a bad tire in the front is the wrong thing to do. So that’s at least one piece of guidance we could give OP. There are also a few other objectively good pieces: Tire selection, checking your tires, using a boot (or piece of tire) to repair damage etc. etc. – Michael Jun 26 at 16:54
9

I'm going to focus only on some aspects of the post that weren't addressed.

... tyre on my rear wheel was worn out. I could clearly see the threading (if this is correct name for that) on the side walls of the tyre near the rim. I swapped front and rear tyre to have the weak one in front because it gets less pressure. Was this correct thing to do? Also, should I have deflated the air pressure in tube when I saw this?

A front flat is much harder to control than a rear flat, and you are likely to crash if your front tire fails. You always want the better rubber in front.

Tires have a casing, and manufacturers glue the tread to the casing. The graphic below doesn't explicitly name the sidewalls of the tire, but they are indeed the exposed sides of the tire. If you saw exposed and damaged threads on the sidewall, then you probably sideswiped some debris. Some tires have sidewall protection belts under the casing to protect against damage like this.

enter image description here

In any case, Argenti's solution was the preferred one: boot the tire, i.e. insert something between the tube and the cut/abrasion. Use money, if necessary, but many plastic/Tyvek postage envelopes would also work. Perhaps a tire boot would be a good thing to bring as a spare! Fiona Kohlbinger, who won the 2019 Transcontinental Race, did so. (NB: when I say she won the race, I mean she won the whole race, not just the women's category.) Here's one example of a commercially available tire boot (link was to the Park Tools TB2).

As you discovered, if you let the hole in the sidewall get too big, the tube will burst through it. I don't think that lowering the pressure would necessarily extend the average lifetime of the tire, and you would incur the risk of pinch flatting anyway.

If you read Kohlbinger's inventory, you'll see that she brought a spare tire with her. I would strongly consider doing this if you are traversing remote areas. One guide to Dirty Kanza did not suggest bringing a full spare tire on your person, but the guide did suggest having replacement tires (and a wheelset!!) available at each checkpoint. In that race, you can arrange for spare items to be transported to each checkpoint. You don't seem to be in a situation where you have prearranged support available at checkpoints, so this adds evidence in favor of packing a spare tire.

NB: Lifetime Fitness is exploring a name change for the event to be more respectful of the Native American tribe whose land the course traverses.

| improve this answer | |
  • 4
    Yes, I carry a boot at all times (plus generally the means to improvise one) and a tyre if I'm likely to be a long way from an open bike shop. Normally that means 200km+ rides or overnight trips, but at the moment, it's anything taking me more than about an hour's walk from home. That's something I picked up from proper long distance riders. A folding tyre isn't too bulky. – Chris H Jun 25 at 21:30
  • 2
    Right about front safety being more important, however I'd remark that this does not mean it's a bad idea to swap tyres front-back – just, it should be done while the rear tyre is still in ok condition. – leftaroundabout Jun 26 at 10:33
  • A folding tyre is still a relatively bulky ~300g you are likely to never ever need if you are riding on proper roads or other good surfaces. – Michael Jun 26 at 10:58
  • 3
    @Michael the OP was traversing remote areas. Remote implies that the tarmac roads are likely to be in worse maintenance as well. And clearly, the OP needed a spare and got slowed down significantly. We also don’t know if the OP was ever off tarmac. I stand by the assertion that he should strongly consider bringing a spare. I agree that if you’re on good roads and you’re traveling in more populated areas, a spare tire may be unnecessary. – Weiwen Ng Jun 26 at 11:55
  • 1
    @Michael the quiet roads round here, in one of the richest countries in the world, can and do eat tyres (one of mine included). And in my case, occasionally riding through the night, a city centre might as well be remote as regards bike parts. – Chris H Jul 13 at 12:55
7

Putting something between a hole worn (or cut) in a tire and the inner tube is called making a boot. Using a opened up inner tube will protect the inflated tube to some extent, but it isn't very durable and because it is stretchy it can't prevent the inner tube from ballooning out of a hole in the tire.

you can't put two tires in a rim, but what you could have done is cut some patches from the donated tire to put between your tire and the tube where the holes were.

Folded money bills apparently work quite well as a boot to stop a tube ballooning out of a small hole.

| improve this answer | |
  • Quite the contrary, Henry Ford put two tires, one inside the other, on each wheel of his original automobile. – Daniel R Hicks Jun 25 at 20:27
  • 5
    @DanielRHicks But in such cases, the tires are designed to be stacked into each other. That's a whole lot different from trying the same thing with two tires designed for single tire usage. – cmaster - reinstate monica Jun 26 at 8:03
  • @cmaster-reinstatemonica - Actually, no. Ford cut the bead off the outer tires. – Daniel R Hicks Jun 26 at 12:05
  • 2
    Note that, to the best of my knowledge, most people who use currency to make an emergency boot use US currency because the "paper" used to make it is more like cloth, and it has very strong threads running through it so it will take this kind of abuse. Currency made of lighter paper may not hold up to the air pressure and stresses in the tire during the ride. and currency with holograms, metal flake, etc may lose those features and no longer be able to be used for actual money. Of course, riding back home instead of walking is probably worth a fiver! – FreeMan Jun 26 at 16:27
  • 1
    @FreeMan (and Argenti) I'm told polymer notes work rather well. Alternatives include things like gel wrappers and even crisp packets; for a small cut a glueless tube patch (or some duct tape, also useful for holding non-sticky improvised boots in place) has got me home at low pressure and riding gently – Chris H Jul 13 at 12:58
1

I was on a roadtrip as I found out that tyre on my rear wheel was worn out. I could clearly see the threading (if this is correct name for that) on the side walls of the tyre near the rim. I swapped front and rear tyre to have the weak one in front because it gets less pressure. Was this correct thing to do? Also, should I have deflated the air pressure in tube when I saw this?

If these are high performance tyres, you can see the intact threading on the sidewall even when new. Unless the threading was clearly and visibly damaged, there is absolutely no worry seeing the threads on the sidewalls. If you see the threads below the tread, in this case the tread is worn and the tyre should be replaced.

The more worn tyre should be in the rear, because a rear blowout is less dangerous and because rear tyres wear faster. When the rear is worn, put the front tyre to the rear and install the new tyre to the front.

After some time, the tube punctured. As I examined it, the whole one side of the tube was worn out because the threading of the tyre rubbed against it. So there was a full circle of worn out material. Therefor, I didn't want to patch the tube because it seemed like it was already too weak.

Something doesn't add up. Was the threading damaged? A visible and intact threading does not damage a tube.

Tubes can be patched always if you find a patch that is large enough. A weak tube is of no concern. A weak tyre is of concern.

What I did was cut that tube entirely open, wrapped it around new tube, stick it in place with some ducktape, and then put that tube inside a tyre. That way, the tyre could only rub on the outer tube, deform it, and perhaps even puncture it again, but the hole would have been too small to let the tyre reach the inner tube, and it seemed like pretty smart fix. What do you think about that?

If it gets you home or to the nearest repair shop, why not.

Unfortunately, after some time, the tyre got so worn out that the threading start to break and a hole was made in the side wall. So, the tubes popped out of the tyre completely in form of a little ballon. At that point I had to stop and seek for new tyre.

Most likely the threading was damaged in the first place, and the damage just started to progress. A tyre boot could have saved you. The best boot can be made from the casing of an old worn-out tyre.

But, I was in remote area and there were no bike shops, so I got some old tyre from some random guy that was also kind of worn out. It was worn out on the top wall (if that is the name of the part of the tyre where it touches the ground), but not as much as my old one. I put his tyre and it almost got me to a place where I could buy a proper new tyre when again the tube popped out in form of a ballon.

The name you're looking for is most likely tread.

Then, I deflated the tube almost completely and walked the bicycle to the bike shop. Should and could I have put both my old and his old tyre to prevent leak of the tube? It seemed like a good idea, especially because they were damaged at different places, but I didn't want to risk some other stupid thing that might have happened. If that would have been a good idea, what about if the tyres were damaged at the same spot? Would then make sense having both of them? Two tyres and two tubes does sound ridiculous but in the means of necessity a lot of things cross my mind.

The idea can be refined by putting in the tyre with the least damage and cutting part of the tyre with the most damage at a non-damaged place to form a tyre boot.

Also, I appreciate any other guidance on what to do in similar situation, or any sharing of your own personal experience.

Next time, prepare a tyre boot, preferably from the better of the discarded worn-out tyres, if you still have them. For a lack of a worn-out tyre, I have created a tyre boot by using low pressure rubber-like rim tape and putting high pressure adhesive cloth rim tape on both sides of the low-pressure rim tape. It's thick and not optimal, but works. I suppose a tyre boot made from an old worn-out tyre would be better.

Note a tyre boot is only a temporary repair.

Also, for a long journey, bringing with you one spare folding tyre is a good idea. The folding tyres with kevlar bead can be folded to a very small package.

| improve this answer | |
  • While not 100% clear, one presumes that the OP was talking about a visibly worn sidewall, not a high-performance road/race tire with a very thin coating of rubber on the sidewall that shows the internal thread structure from new by design. Based on the OPs use of English, it's not his first language, so grant some leeway on exact terminology - he acknowledges that he's not sure that "threading" is the correct term... – FreeMan Jun 26 at 16:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.