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Flat World

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#1
Pete

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Introducing Flat World, an experimental collaborative map project to record cyclists' punctures - as much for fun as for information - and a hideous cartography/geography pun to boot!

If you are a map-loving cyclist or cycle-loving mapper keep it in mind. The map is centered on the North of Scotland just now but if you're not native to the Scotland it doesn't mean that your flat tires are less of a let down (sorry!) - if I get some puncture markers from people in other parts of the world I'll happily extend the map to fit you all in.

Click here to view the Flat World map.

Click on the link at the bottom of the map and log into Google to collaborate in the map.

Click Edit and then click to add a placemark to indicate where you punctured.

Give the placemark a suitable title - something like what caused the puncture - and add as much information as you want to in the description field. As a minimum you might want to consider including the date, what caused the puncture, what tyres you were using at the time.

Click Done when you're finished to save your placemark.

Please be respectful of others and do not alter other people's placemarks.

Thanks!

#2
DaveB

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Many years ago cough (70's and 80's) cough when I was commuting to work by bicycle I used to mark on the calendar when I got flats. I didn't try mapping them. Most happened on either of the 2 routes I usually followed. Which makes sense because that's where most of my riding took place. I don't think there was any particular place on the routes where the flats happened. I think what I usually found was that when the frequency increased it was time to get new tires.
So I guess what I would expect is more flats will happen in places where more rides happen. :)
Dave Barnes
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#3
Matthew Hampton

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I recently made an interesting empirical observation that might yield a corollary to Dave's hypothesis.

I've noticed that since I have stopped riding my bike, I have had a significant reduction in flat tires. :lol:

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#4
Gretchen Peterson

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I think it is a pretty creative idea. Let's say you get a cluster of points that aren't in a high-traffic local, that would be a red flag, don't you think? So you could do some nearest neighbor hierarchical clustering on the data and compare that to other data such as population (to imply high-bicycle traffic, but perhaps your region would have a better correlate dataset) to see if there are any mis-matches between the two. Fun stuff.

#5
Kathi

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Since people are encouraged to give information on what caused the flat tire, there's a chance not just to map out bike trafic but also "puncture mechanisms" and "dangerous places". I could think of areas where for some reason there are lots of glass shards (in fact I know a nice bike route along a river with a beautiful picnic area where some teens tend to hang out and drink beers, smashing the bottles on the pavement afterwards...) or unpaved roads with rather sharp-edged gravel. Of course, the quality of the road plays into this as well.

I could also imagine there's a correllation between weather (temperature, I'd guess) and puncture frequency...
Cheers,

Kathi

#6
Dennis McClendon

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Are Armadillo bicycle tyres not sold in Scotland? They make the map a lot more boring.
Dennis McClendon, Chicago CartoGraphics
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#7
Hans van der Maarel

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I could also imagine there's a correllation between weather (temperature, I'd guess) and puncture frequency...


Rain, I'd wager... (started cycling about 3 months ago, haven't had a puncture yet, knock on wood)
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#8
Kathi

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I've been cycling since I was a small kid, rode my bike to school and later to university, did some holiday trips etc. I haven't counted my punctures, but I remember a few of them:

As a kid in the early 80ies I once parked my bike and pushed it too close to a thorn bush. One of the thorns went right through my front tire...

Just last year ago, while cicling along the afore-mentioned nice route with the picnic place, I told a friend that with the tires from this one big brand, even without the kevlar inlay, you hardly ever get puntures. Said it, ran over a glass shard and Ffffffffffff...

The weirdest one was about a year after I had bought a new bike and had ridden it to school every day. I noticed over that I kept losing air, and the rate of loss increased. thinking I probably had a tiny hole somewhere I opened the tire an pulled the tube out to have a look. Imagine my surprise when I found that there was a tube for 28" wheels in my 26" tire. It had been folded back on itself because it was too long, and there friction had turned the tube into a sieve. How this could have been a smooth-running wheel for a year, I still don't understand...
Cheers,

Kathi

#9
Pete

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I'll probably regret saying this but I've not had a puncture in a while ... It might be a bit of a plug but I'm running Bontranger Hardcases that seem to resist all but the most determined flints and bits of glass. The only downside is the hard tyre compound has next to no grip in the rain as I found to my cost in a race in Forres when I took a roundabout on my side - I landed up in the gutter facing the way that I had come with my bike next to me. Got back on the bike and finished third. Ho hum!

I know a few bad spots for puntures and they all relate to parts of the cycle network - one part under a bridge where the "yoof" dispose of their empty drink bottles and the other is on a bridge next to a busy dual carriage way. I don't know if I could use the information (when it starts rolling in) to make any hugle meaningful assessment of puncture-prone-ness (eh?) but like Kathi and Gretchen mentioned it might be a fun and creative way to highlight "red spots"

Rain tends to wash gravel over roads and high temperatures cause tyre pressure to increase so both could make punctures more likely. Of course, damned bad luck is always a factor! One poor guy (not me this time!) got all of his kit ready before driving up to Beauly for a race, including getting his tyres up to pressure before putting them into a hot car ... he lasted about 20 minutes before pffffffffffffffftt ..!

There's not been much action on the map yet but the gritters have started to operate in my local area so fingers crossed: not long now ... :o :D ! I've even looked out a cycling smiley and a bike pump smiley for the website:

Posted Image

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And Matthew,

I've noticed that since I have stopped riding my bike, I have had a significant reduction in flat tires. :lol:


That's really not the attitude :lol: !




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