Flats are pretty much the worst thing that can happen to you on a ride, especially if you’re far from either your starting or end point.
While broken glass, pinch flats, and various road debris are big culprits for flats, goathead stickers are among the worst of them all. While goatheads obviously don't grow on pavement, they still manage to ruin plenty of road cyclists’ day every year, and even some mountain bikers too.
Goatheads are evil, unrelenting foes, but there are some things you can do to both avoid getting one in the first place, and reduce damage if you do encounter one.
Here’s some helpful tips for dealing with goatheads on and off the road.
For most places in the U.S., goathead season ramps up around the early fall and spring. Be extra vigilant around these times, and don’t take any chances rolling your bike through the grass, or getting too close to the shoulder on a road.
Goathads grow on a very normal looking, weed-like vine. If you see vine-like weeds growing on the edge of the road or path, take a closer look to see if there are any stickers, and be alert the rest of your ride if so.
If you are in an area with a major goathead issue, it’s best to go on the offensive and equip your bike with tires and tubes that are highly resistant to punctures. GatorSkin tires have a kevlar layer that repels most any small, sharp object.
You can also invest in puncture-resistant tubes that use thicker material to help resist punctures. Add these two together and you’re really set up.
Tube liners can be effective as well. Add a tube liner between your tube and the inside of your tire to form a durable layer that will catch most any sharp object that may otherwise puncture your tube.
When you get back from a ride, examine your tires for any goatheads that may have gotten stuck during the ride. Remove them, and make any necessary repairs. If you notice one on your tire during a ride, and the air isn’t leaking, it’s best to leave it in to keep the hole sealed until you get back .
If a goathead has won the battle and penetrated your tube, you’re going to have to either patch it, or replace the tube entirely. Use a high-level patching kit to repair your tube if it’s salvageable, and always check your tire to make sure it doesn’t have any structural damage as a result.
Goatheads can certainly be a major pain during your ride, but they don’t have to win. By knowing how to identify and avoid them, you can greatly reduce your chances of ruining your ride from one. And of course, being proactive with more durable tires and tubes helps as well.
This post was last updated on August 30th, 2018 at 12:53 pm
Over the last few years, I’ve taken my love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting this site. I started a bike shop in Denver, CO, and have seen amazing growth over the last few years. Getting paid to do what I love has been a dream come true for me. That’s also what led me to start BikesReviewed.com. In my shop, I spend a large amount of time helping people find the perfect bike for them and the style of biking they’re going to be doing. It only made sense that I expanded my reach and got online, making it possible for me to help people all over the world. If biking and staying fit is your priority, too, you’ve come to the right place.
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