Thorn of plenty

So I’m cruising home on my bicycle from work last Friday afternoon, three miles into the 12-mile trip, when this clattering, almost insect-like sound suddenly starts emanating from both tires. I brake and look down. Goathead thorns. Both tires.

Now, when I say ‘goathead thorns’, I don’t mean just a couple. I don’t even mean six or ten. I mean a colony of thorns. Check it out:


And that’s not even most of them. Of course, you can’t stop and pull one out, much less all of them, as you will get instant flat tires. With no patch kit or sealant, I frantically tried to remember how far the nearest bike shop was — and it was the one about a mile from my house. Gah!

Luckily, having dealt with this menace before, I’ve been riding on heavy-duty, puncture-resistant tubes for a while now, so I was able to continue down the road despite feeling the bike’s dynamics change as the air slowly oozed out. Thanks to those 4.5mm-thick tubes, I was able to nurse it all the way to the shop, buy new tubes, and then make it home. Of course, it was steering like a yacht by then and I had to drop gears to keep going forward at a decent pace, but the pressure held just enough. Amazingly, I only had to replace the front tube — the back was still at full pressure despite getting a full hit of thorns itself.

I returned to the shop yesterday and picked up a couple of cans of pressurized sealant that will inflate and seal flats, to throw in my bag for longer excursions.

I’m not sure exactly where and how I picked up those thorns — I’m guessing it’s when I jumped up on the sidewalk for a block when the street started getting freaky with cars. Stupid cars. ;)

3 thoughts on “Thorn of plenty”

  1. Agh! Goathead season! I too have been assaulted by those critters and left scratching my head as to where they’ve come from. I can understand suffering them on offroad jaunts, but who’s planting that shit in the city?

  2. They’re all over my house as well, and I’m not sure where they come from. I think they’re from the unkempt grass across the street. I’ve stepped on a few walking around the house barefoot.

  3. I hate those things so much. It’s like stepping on nail.

    I’m not a bike-riding kinda guy, but I recall reading somewhere that you can buy that puncture sealing goo, and put it in your tires even when they’re not punctured. That way, if you hit a million of these little fuckers, you can yank them out and the goo will seal them holes up right quick.

    I don’t know why I suddenly started talkin’ like a 19th century prospecter. Must be beacause I’m powerful tired, durnit.

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