2300km, but where to start?

As you can imagine, a 19day epic generates a fair amount of copy.

You can go right to the beginning of the whole ordeal, or the startline/day 1.

I'm looking at moving from a general ride report to a more up to date what's happening site. Yes, Freedom Challenge doesn't just finish in Paarl! When i get round to it, there'll be a PDF of the 19days reports.

Send some feedback (I'm aware that the whole layout is just, well kinda rubbish!)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Good Stuff

There are two types of mountain bike riders. Those who ride tubeless, and those who will in some time in the future. Even non riders know that the ultimate riding curse is the puncture and resulting flat tyre (‘pap wiel’ will make sense even to our english viewers).

There are two types of tubeless setups. Tubeless specific rims with tubeless specific tyres, and the cheaper option of tubeless conversion strips. Both take the addition of latex sealant that rolls around inside the tyre.

There are two main types of punctures out there. The ‘thorn’ and the ‘snake bite’, tubeless almost gets rid of both.

The thorn will puncture your inner tube and air escapes. With the tubeless system you have some magic goo that just seals the hole. Magic it is indeed. I’ve ridden on weskus winefarms and pulled twenty thorns out of my tyre at the end of a ride, without having to stop once.

The snakebite is a puncture caused by the innertube getting squeezed between the tyre and the rim. It seems impossible with an inflated tyre, but it happens in rocky surfaces. It won’t happen with tubeless, because there is no tube! You might get what they call a ‘burp’ with a little bit of airloss but it won’t end your ride.

Many baulk at the initial cost of conversion to tubeless. It’s worth every cent in the long run. There are two main options – Stan’s no tubes (the original); and Joe’s no flat’s. The only maintenance cost is the addition of the liquid sealant. Fortunately now we don’t have to pay dollar prices for this, as a new product has come on the market.

Manny’s “the good stuff” is what’s rolling around in my tyres. For some reason all the tubeless stuff comes with a first name – go figure. You’ll find it in the corner of your local bike store (if not – demand it). It comes in a bottle resembling Alcolin Cold Glue without the sticker. Look for the sticker with the friendly face and legendry ‘stache on it. If rumours are to be believed, he mixes it in his garage. It’s passed my initial satisfactiory test and we’ll see how it holds up to 2300km.

I have no links for Manny's - just get it from your LBS.

Joe's no flats

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