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Half Full or Half Empty?

Half full or half empty on a bicycle? On a road bike? What does that even mean?

The other day I was riding home on my from-work commute. As I approached the end of a very familiar paved trail I heard the "swoosh...swoosh...swoosh" sound signaling a puncture. I hadn't seen or felt anything, but it can happen to any rider. I am currently running one tubed tire (front) and one tubeless (rear). This was the first puncture I had gotten on the tubeless. Unfortunately, I was far overdue on checking the sealant (it had only been about a year!).

With a tubed tire, a puncture would quickly result in a full on flat that could not be ridden. This wasn't the case with the tubeless. With the low level of sealant, it leaked some air and definitely reduced the pressure but it didn't go flat. In fact, I was able to ride on a ways before putting some air in. As the pressure increased, I got an audible and slightly visible vapor spray from the hole. Once again, the pressure decreased (about to where it was when I stopped) but it didn't go flat and I rode on. I ended up riding 7 miles at a slower pace with two stops to add air and made it home without a problem.

So, was this a "glass half full" case or a "glass half empty"? I did get a puncture that didn't fully seal and I did stop to add air twice, so a pessimist could claim the glass was half empty. On the other hand, I made it home without having a lengthy stop to patch or replace the tube and I could have gone farther if necessary. I am putting this tubeless experience into the half full category based on the ability to push on and finish the ride. It is surprising the more road bikers aren't using tubeless tires like mountain bikes!

Postscript: I added some more sealant and that solved the problem. I rode 40 miles the next ride and had no problems. This moves the answer to the question pretty close to a "glass is full".

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