Goatheads are a major concern for many bicyclists in the Wenatchee Valley. The thorny invasive species is known for causing flat tires on bicycles.
What can we do?
1. Learn more about the work happening to eliminate goatheads in the region. Local agencies and community volunteers are working to eliminate the thorny weed.
2. Learn to repair a flat tire. No one is immune to flat tires 100% of the time so having the tools and knowledge to repair your tire will greatly reduce the frustration and inconvenience of a flat tire on your ride.
Some methods for reducing flat tires:
1. Tubeless: A fantastic option for reducing goathead and other thorny flats is the bicycle version of a tubeless tire setup. A retentive, high contact rim and tire bead combined with a specific liquid sealant helps keep air in your tire while actively sealing small holes as they form. This can be an expensive retrofit but if you own a mountain bike that is relatively new, you may have most of what you need on your bike already.
2. Puncture resistant tires: An excellent option for road oriented bikes is to purchase a set of tires with protection built in. This comes in the form of a densely woven fabric or in some cases a thick high durometer core. It’s important to remember that not all tires labeled with protection are created equal and most will not offer protection from things that are in your tire for an extended period of time. So if you have a visible thorn or piece of glass in your tire, best pull it out as soon as possible.
3. Protective tire liners: Tire liners offer most of the benefit of a great puncture protected tire at a fraction of the cost. They can be installed on any bike making them a great option for most people. Make sure you are getting a liner that is wide enough to cover the entire tread of the tire, and maybe more, to ensure the effectiveness.
4. Inner tube sealants: The same way a tubeless tire sealant can seal a tire, inner tube sealant can seal small holes in tubes. Great as an extra layer of protection for pin holes when using added puncture resistance at the tread.
5. Thorn resistant tubes: Thorns penetrate rubber rather easily, especially under body weight. A thorn resistant tube is just a thicker rubber tube that unfortunately on its own is unlikely to be effective.
6. Rim Strips: Often a flat tube is not caused by something in your tire at all, but by exposed spoke nipples or spokes on your wheel. Always pair any of the above with a high quality proper functioning rim strip.
3. Know your transit options and carry money, bus tokens or passes for Link Transit. Many Link Transit routes have bike racks or bike parking and can help you get home safely if you end up with a flat tire or mechanical issues.