I can’t recall when I put the Continental Gatorskins on my commuter, but it was a bloody good decision, because the number of flats I got significantly reduced. However, I needed to replace them today, having purchased a pair for £52 from Velo Ecosse. I managed to get a stone stuck in the side of the tyre within 4 weeks of putting them on my bike, and it was really quite amazing that the tyre didn’t puncture, because the tyre took so much damage. However, the hole has been getting gradually worse over the months, and on Friday, I noticed that the inner tube was prolapsing through the tyre, so it was finally time to replace it.
I took the front and back tyres off, and inspected them to see how much crap was stuck in them. And it defied belief. The amount of glass that was embedded deeply in the tyre was amazing, including one large piece which was completely hidden from view. It was under the smallest slit in the tyre, but once the tyre was off the wheel and I bent the tyre over around the slit, it opened up to show this huge chunk of glass deep within the tyre.
To be honest, the amount of glass I took out of the tyre is enough to start a small double glazing firm.
There’s not much I can do in terms of taking routes that avoid glass. If you want to go from one side of Edinburgh to the other twice a day, every day, then you need to accept that broken glass is going to be everywhere, especially on cycle paths, so the only way to deal with it is to use a tyre that is quite resistant to glass. And the Conti Gatorskins have done a good job for me so far – fingers crossed the next pair do as well.