Friday, March 30, 2012

Tubeless In Moab

So a few weeks ago, I went to the Moab Skinny Tire Festival to get some fabulous road riding in. As always, I inspected my tires before leaving, and I did notice a few significant nicks and cuts in them. Nevertheless, they were still holding air, so I decided to keep using them.

I pumped the tires up the night before and left my bike in my hotel room. About an hour later, I heard a loud hissing sound and saw a pool of white liquid below my rear tire. My tire had spontaneously deflated!  This is not the first time this had ever happened, but it was amazing to be sitting next to a motionless bicycle that forms a leak.

Fortunately, I had brought with me an brand new pair of Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tubeless tires. The challenge was finding a compressor to install them with at 7am - before my ride to Dead Horse Point that starts at 8!  My first instinct was to find a gas station with a compressor, and take care of it there.

Nevertheless, I was thrilled to find Uranium Bicycles open at that hour on the way to my ride. Marshall Hannum, the owner of the shop was renting road bikes and supporting the riders at that event. Better yet, he was gracious enough to allow me to use his shop's compressor to quickly swap out my tires. Even with someone as experienced with tubeless tires as myself, I was still surprised to complete the swap, on two wheels, in about 15 minutes! That gave me plenty of time to get to know Marshall. From what I can tell Uranium appears to be the road bike shop in a town of mountain bike fanatics. He is very familiar with both road tubeless and road disc brake technology, two of my pet passions. Finally, he has a fantastic stable of road bikes for rent, which is a real rarity in most places.

So first, always check your tires before a big ride and change them if they have lots of damage. Secondly, the next time your travel plans take you to Moab, say hi to Marshall at Uranium Bicycles. You will be glad you did!