Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Goathead Thorns

Ventured out for my first real ride, out from this city of bikes. Headed out through orchards and fields, toward Lake Berryessa. A beautiful beautiful ride - after 20 miles. The 1st 20 are spend on straight, flat roads, surrounded by row after row of trees or ploughed earth. But at least they're quiet - only the passing truck filled with rancher, pickers, or tomatoes. Here's evidence of a tomato truck that had more than it's share:

The hills - a section of coastal mountains between the central valley and nappa / the bay - are steep, dry, gold and green. And after the flat hour out, it was great to power up to the steep pass. I turned around an decided to head home a slightly different way - a busier road that kept me on the white line. I accidentally shifted of the pavement at one point, was on gravel for about 3/4 of a second, then shifted back up. But heard a click click that meant something was on my wheel and brushing against my frame. I stopped to examine and found at least 8 spiky thorns in my front tire. I pulled one out and heard a hiss.
Got out my patch kit and patched two holes in the front tire. then broke the valve when I was pumping the tire back up. So I put in the new tube I had in my bag. All was well, until I realized that I should check my back tire as well. It was already flat. Thorns removed then 3 holes to patch. The valve broke on this tube as well - need to do a better job with this tricky pump - but it was still taking air. But one of the patches was failing, so I road for a mile or so, out of the saddle, and then started walking. By the time all this patching and changing was done, and I had walked a few miles, Susan was out of class and drove to pick me up, still 10 miles or so out of town. Bear in mind, I have kevlar beaded tires that are not supposed to puncture and with which I have ridden through glass, potholes, and innumerable other undesirable conditions. But there's these thorns out here with 3 small spikes designed, like a tripod, to keep a fourth, giant spike pointing straight up, and into my tire. A few good lessons for the first day out: the mountains are farther away than they appear, stay off any gravel, and bring lots of tubes!
More info I just found: The Goathead Thorn
They really are evil little sons of female jerks!


  1. In California the roads are NOT paved with gold! But why name such a noxious plant after our friends the goats? Good riding and adventuring in any case and lucky to have a ride back home for the last 10 miles.
    Mama Llama

  2. Wow...little evil thorns can bring a Boy down!