The Wipe Down

Frank’s maddening post about doing things because, well, because that’s the way to do things made me question some of my own questionable cycling behavior.

My sensi taught me to clean off my tires immediately after riding over something that might cause a puncture. This was done while riding, finger tips floating over the tread to dislodge any potential trouble. The front wheel is easy, the rear requires some technique, indexing one’s hand against the seat-stay. Did sensi mention the indexing part? I don’t think so, sensi did not have to state the obvious all the time. The obvious being: if your hand gets too close to the seat tube your hand becomes firmly wedged between tire and seat-tube, hilarity ensues.

Drunk people are not interested in recycling or redeeming the $0.05 deposit on their beer bottles. It is much more fun to throw them out the window, resulting in me wiping off my tires, usually a few times a ride. I do this and have not had a flat tire in a long time so you must all start doing this, except my wife’s bike roll with the same Veloflex Arenberg tubulars and she never does this and she has not had a flat in a long time either. We train together and she blithely rolls over the same glass that I’m madly wiping off my tires.

The conclusion is, on dry roads glass rarely punctures tires. I have found tiny wire segments are what sometimes punctures my tires, possibly from destroyed car tire radial belts but one never rides through a glittering, highly visible, pile of those. All bets are off when the tires, road and debris are wet. My current theory is the water provides enough lubricity to let glass and other fun things go right through the tire tread. I have no data to prove this; it might be standing on the side of the road in the rain makes a more vivid memory of getting a flat.

Paul Sherwen is always saying the rain causes more “flints” to wash into roads, hence more punctures on rainy days. I’m thinking, if anything, the rain washes “flints” off the road but in any case the wet causes the troubles. Again, Paul was a Pro but I’m one year older (we share the same birthday, I did not know that) so that’s a wash.

Have we learned anything today? Not bloody likely as I will continue to wipe off my tires as I ride over bad things despite no evidence that it helps. Have I cursed myself and my wife by mentioning our lack of flat tires, quite possibly. Does this mean I should shift my bike into the small/small cogs when putting her away for the night, no.

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104 Replies to “The Wipe Down”

  1. @Gianni

    @fignons barber

    @Gianni ,

    Is it true you will be penning a sequel, entitled “Dirty White Bar Tape” ?

    What is that? Hemp bar tape? Out damn tape, my eyes!

    Whatever that is, it’s very wrong. And needn’t be written abooot.

    It’s Fizik Tacky “white”. It offers quite nice grip, but doesn’t go well with the combination of the “wipe down technique” and high training mileage. I’m open to any suggestions on how to clean this shit. Dirt seems to lock onto it and not want to leave.

  2. @emerson



    It’s just perfect as it is, thanks. I have several other bikes for achieving that “look”…

    Nice one.

    Throwing shade on Oli’s glove game is asking for it, innit


    I even do the post ride tyre rinse and wipe down, with a mix of white vinegar and water, wipe the tyre down with a  rag and polish the rims a la Merckx’s mechanic on one of his track bikes. I largely do it to check for cuts in the tubs, but now the clinchers get the special treatment too.

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