Two lifesavers to simplify your cycling

Credit: Stephen Dunn/Allsport
I do not know about you, but there are two things that for years have always been nuisances for me in enjoying my cycling time on the road.

First are flats that always seem to occur at the most inopportune time. Second is pulling my CamelBak reservoir out of the pack and seeing the growth that has occurred because of some micro-organism has decided to take up residence in my reservoir.

Well, I think I have found two remedies that have worked for me to avoid these unwanted nuisances.

Don't let flats ruin your day

For years I have been avoiding self-sealing tubes because they often weigh between 300 to 350 grams, including the weight of the tube and the sealant inside. So recently I decided to test a pair of SLiME Lite Tubes, which weigh as little as 117 grams per tube about the same as an untreated tube!

The technology used for the sealant in the SLiME Lite self-sealing tube is revolutionary, using fibers that seal punctures up to 1/8 of an inch.

I have had the tubes on my road bike wheels with a pair of Continental Grand Prix tires for about two months and have pulled one small finishing nail and a goat's head thorn out of my tires without a flat. Two flats avoided and less time standing on the side of the road.

Best of all, these tubes feel responsive and not sluggish, unlike heavier self-sealing versions I had used in the past. Great acceleration, lightweight, Presta valve and so far, no flats. I can carry one or two of these light, self-sealing tubes in my saddlebag because of their compact size.

SLiME Lite self-sealing tubes can be found at local bike dealers, Sports Mart, REI, and Gart Sports, are available in a variety of sizes with Schrader and Presta valves, and retail for around $10. For more information about the SLiME Tire Sealant company, its products and retail outlets, go to:

Don't let a stray microorganism ruin your day

Even if you never use a sports drink in your back-mounted drinking system, you should periodically take some time to clean the reservoir and delivery tube to prevent your hydration and digestive systems from becoming full of nasty microorganisms. I have come across an all-in-one kit that not only contains an antimicrobial cleanser, but also bristle brushes designed to fit the reservoir, tube and mouthpiece and a hanger to let me dry the reservoir after cleaning.

The cleaning system is the Hydra Care Complete Care Kit and it comes with everything you will need to rid your hydration reservoir of foul-tasting slime or smelly remnants of that non-water beverage you toted along on the ride and let sit around in the reservoir for a few days. You get a big brush to clean the inside of your bladder, a long tube brush, a hang dryer, and a bottle of Hydra Cleaner which is a water- and vegetable-based cleaner that cleans the reservoir with no aftertaste.

I have been using a few drops of the Hydra Cleanser with hot water in my reservoir once per week as a preventative, and have used the cleaning brushes and hanger to thoroughly clean my CamelBak reservoir after I use a sports drink in the reservoir to prevent the glucose turning into major mold in my reservoir.

The tasteless, quick-rinse cleaning solution and easy-to-use hose brush beats the heck out of swirling some bleach and hot water around in my reservoir and hoping for the best.

The Hydra Care products can be purchased separately or you can buy the complete cleaning kit for $15 at bicycle shops or major bicycle catalogs. For more info on their products and tips on cleaning your hydration system visit their site at

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