4 Flats in 4 Months. Facebook group advice is useless. I want your advice.

My daily work commute takes me on both Halsted and Clyborn.  I've have 4 flats in 4 months.  2 front and 2 back.  I'm looking for something economical to help me.  I'm getting kinda tired of changing flats.  Tougher tubes? What brand? Mr. Tuffy tire liner was suggested.  I have a friend that is pushing me to go tubeless but he's a mountain bike guy and I'm an asphalt guy so I'm concerned about the ride quality and $$$.  I had someone on Facebook suggest that I split an inner tube open and wrap the new tube in that.  I've heard to use Duct tape inside the tire.  I was looking at the Schwalbe Marathon GreenGuard City Tire, but the reviews said it had problems with punctures.  What do you folk's do?   Help me Chicago Bicycle Community!

This wasn't even my most recent flat.

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This is the brand that I guess I won't be buying any more.

In my opinion, any bike tire is exposed to the elements and the road, so any tire is going to wear out. When that happens, holes develop and bits of glass and sharp debris will get in and puncture the inner tube. That's why I ignore the tire and use the thicker, thorn-resistant inner tubes. Plus, they're cheaper than tires. They last many months, and I ride a lot more miles than I used to. When I had a shorter bike commute, I'd get a flat every few months with those thin tubes, after riding only a fraction of the miles I do now.

Another thing to consider is changing your route. I ride down a lot of side streets and they probably have a low level of glass and debris, or I'd undoubtedly have more flats. One day I changed my route to avoid rain clouds. The street was unfamiliar and full of puddles, so who knows what I rode through? I got a flat after a mile and a half on that. Protected bike lanes, like on Clybourn, collect a lot of debris, so I'd avoid that street.

Don't ask me about 'ride quality', though. I don't know what 'harsh' or 'mushy' means.

Love the idea of riding to avoid rain clouds. I've never tried that. :)

I think you mean Cycle Smithy.

But this guy uses 700 x 35-45 Schrader valve, and for some reason the @#$% bike distributors won't sell bike shops the thorn-resistant tubes with Schrader valves anymore. They used to, in the recent past. Now it's only goddamn Presta valves. What is their problem? So I have to buy them online. And they wonder why retail is dying? It's obvious. Can't find anything in the damn stores.

Where is there a "free air" pump at a gas station anymore??

At that corner station,  next to the phone booth.


I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure the advantages of Presta valves are mostly imaginary for any use except very narrow rims. It does not matter if the riding environment is urban or not.

I've had good luck with the Conti Touring Plus reflex. I don't use tire liners, but I do use heavy touring tubes.

I agree that checking the tires for embedded stuff is a MAJOR help. Lots of people don't realize that it usually takes a while for debris to work into the tire to cause the damage.

The contis ride about the same as the Marathons in my experience and tend to be a little cheaper. Depending on your rims, they can be a little difficult to install. 

Good Luck.

I hear your pain.  I agree with most, Schwalbe marathons are pretty puncture proof, until they get worn down like all tires.  How old are your tires?  Once mine hit 1500-2000 miles they become worn and start getting more and more flats.   A good idea is to inspect your tires daily, such as when you put air in them every morning and clear the debris/glass out of them.   My commute is 11 miles one way, and the miles just wear a tire down and they get less and less puncture proof.  It is what it is.  But clear that debris out of the rubber, and pump up your tires daily.  Good luck!

Upon close inspection I believe my worn out tires are the issue. After about 2000 miles they are still the original tires that came with the bicycle. I'm saving for a set of Marathons.

When I was getting flats I ended up re taping the rim along with better quality tires.

Also riding through deep water or rain will let water inside and the tube slips and I had a couple tears near the valve due to slippage. 

And I keep mine inflated around 100 psi to avoid the leg burn,mushy ride feel and to avoid the pinch flat that occasionally happens on that sharp angle pothole or speed bump.


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