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How to take care of your tyres

Posted by London Bicycle Kitchen on


Today's episode contains images that may cause shock, nausea, horror, &/or disgust.
Parental discretion is advised. 

Today's Topic is...

TYRES

What? I have to take care of my tyres? 

Yes sweet thing, you do. 

Your tyres are used every time you ride, and are a consumable - i.e. something meant to be consumed. As with most consumables, how long they last depends on how well you take care of them, and the environment you’re riding in. 

How to look after your tyres

First: Check that they’re pumped up to their proper pressure (covered in the first ever MMR newsletter!) 

Second: if you have rim brakes, squeeze the lever and make sure the pads don't touch the tyre. If every time you brake the pad is touching the tyre, guess what’s gonna happen? That’s right, BOOM.  

Third: You don’t really have to wash your tyres, but it doesn’t hurt giving them a rinse once in a while. If you have lovely amber wall tyres that are so hot right now, use our fancy pants Rozone parts washer to get them lovely and clean again! 

Fourth: If you see any of these things, it’s a sign your tyre is on its way out: hairy sidewalls, bald patches, skid marks, gashes, unsightly bulges, cracks, worn knobs... 

- Some small holes/cuts may be 'booted'. Create a tyre boot out of a £5 note, crisp packet, toothpaste tube, or other similar substance and place it between the tyre and inner tube to prevent the tube from popping out. 

- Rubber breaking down may expose the 'bead' of the tyre (the wire inside that provides rigidity - folding tyres will usually have a kevlar bead, not metal). If this happens, you will need a new tyre ASAP, as this will guarantee a delightful* explosion. 
*not
I once told the neighbourhood kids "You know how men go bald when they get older? So do tyres." 
Cheap Tyres = False Economy

Investing in good tyres is something we always encourage here at LBK. We believe that cheap tyres are a false economy - you actually end up spending more money in the long run replacing them (they wear down faster), and send more crap to landfill (bike tyres can’t be recycled because of their smol size; at one point they were used as the squishy ground in children’s parks, but were found to be toxic.) So yeah, the less crap we toss, the better. (I was wrong, we have 12 years left of life as we know it.) Our favourite (and Bicycle Workshop legend Ninon Asuni’s) is the Panaracer RiBMo. It’s lighter than a Marathon Plus, won’t fool you into thinking that it’s fully pumped up like a Marathon Plus, and is cheaper than a Marathon Plus (£30! Bargain! Get em before Brexit kicks in!) 
Take the time to inspect your tyres every month or so. London is basically a pile of glass, and bits of sharp detritus can embed themselves, waiting for the right moment to push themselves in and puncture your tube. Don’t hop curbs and avoid potholes like the plague (unless you have a MTB or tubeless setup). 

When do I change my tyres? 
When you get sick of all the punctures you're getting, or they blowout, whichever happens first. 

This one cool trick...

One super fun thing to do is to go over your tyres with a sharp instrument, such as tweezers or a spokey pokey (you can make one at LBK in our crafting class!) and pick out any embedded bits. It is INCREDIBLY SATISFYING. Do not deprive yourself of the particular pleasure of picking out bits of glass, thorns, splinters, etc - it is much like popping a zit, or peeling off old wallpaper, or cutting wrapping paper with just the join of the scissors. Just be sure to deflate your tyre before you do it; it'll be easier that way.  
MAKE YOUR OWN :D We do a class!

Wanna pick through your tyres like your teeth after a meal? Sure you do! But you’ll need a handy instrument. Why not make your very own spokey pokey in our new Bike Crafting Class? No two classes are the same - we start out with the basics of teaching you how to use a chain breaker, bench grinder, and glue gun, but then we release you into the wild so you can make whatever your little heart desires: bike chain macrame (plant included!), bike chain bracelets and keyrings, glitter cassette ornaments, the aforementioned spokey pokeys, and more! (And you can use it to pick your teeth, we won't tell...)
Bike-Crafting Bonanza
Bike-Crafting Bonanza
£40.00
Make your own spokey pokeys in our bike crafting class - makes a great gift! 
We use our old 2nd hand parts to help you create: 
- bike chain macrame and keyrings
- spokey pokeys
- glitter cassette ornaments and earrings
SIGN ME UP BISH
SNEAK PEEK - our new t-shirt! YAYYYYYYY
Long Sleeve Logo T-shirt
Long Sleeve Logo T-shirt
£15.00
Our new t-shirt! Freshly unboxed just today :D
TELL ME MORE

Happy to help!

Any burning rubber questions? Pop by LBK1's drop in workshop, we're always happy to talk shop. You can borrow our spokey pokeys too. 
As ever, if you want to learn more, the Bike God Sheldon Brown has a page on tires (there's even a special one just for British English tyres!)
Happy Tyre Care!! 
Jenni x