Wet weather needs a tyre check

Cyclist with umbrella riding along a flooded streetWeather watch: keep an eye on your tyres in wet weather. Photo: Nicole Hamaker FlickR

Rain created trouble for a friend’s icecream earlier this week. She’d gone shopping with bike and trailer, but forgotten the puncture repair kit.

As always happens when the roads get wet, a sharp stone cut up her front tyre and she had to walk bike, trailer and melting icecream all the way home.

The icecream finally made it to the freezer and the tyre ended up in the rubbish bin.

Dry conditions are so common, it’s easy to forget you need to take extra care in the wet. And the first thing you want to be sure of is your tyres.

That first sprinkle on dry and dusty roads makes for slippery conditions. Anyone on wheels-cars or bikes-needs to take care until all that oil and dust is washed away.

You need to allow extra distance to brake and take care on corners. A decent tread on your tyres is going to make a big difference.

Just like a car, bicycle tyres wear. And just like a car, rotating them can extend their life. The back tyre is going to wear much faster than the front.

Slick tyres are designed for travelling around on sealed surfaces. They don’t have a lot of tread and you’ll notice after a while that the back tyre develops a flat profile.

Swap them over before it gets too bad. Even the life of a pair of nobby tyres will be extended if you rotate them.

There comes a time, though, when they really have worn out. The surface will look perished, there’s not much of any kind of tread left and there could be all sorts of cuts.

Running on worn out tyres risks more punctures, poorer handling and the possibility of complete tyre failure at one of those nasty cuts.

You always seem more prone to tyre cuts on wet roads, so it pays to check your tyres over regularly.

Bits of glass and even quartz can lodge in your tyres without causing a puncture immediately. But eventually they work their way through and down you go.

Letting a bit of pressure out of your tyres makes it easy to fish these little nasties out before they do too much damage. If it’s not too deep, you can fill the cut with a bit of super glue or silicon and extend the life of your tyres.

Look after your tyres and you’ll be much safer when it’s wet.

See you on the road soon, God willing.

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