Cycling with Glass on the Road


As I showed you in this video a couple weeks ago, the people of Grenada are shaping up their bodies for Carnival which is now pretty much under way.  Along with the fitness shape up, from the extra broken glass I’ve come across on the roads….a lot of people are also getting their drinking ability in shape as well.

The roads of Grenada are generally quite free of broken glass on the road, so it’s never really an issue.  But over the past week I have come across several spots of glass while cycling.  So what should you do when riding around broken glass?

The answer revolves slightly around how big the splinters of glass are, and what kind of tires you’re rolling.  In my experience, it’s the big sharp chunks of glass that can do the most damage as I’ve never had a problem on the few occasions that I’ve rode through the smaller stuff.  I also know that glass is more of an issue for soft material road tires, than many of the other varieties.

Tires: Kevlar reinforced road tires are quite popular these days due to their light weight and puncture-resistant abilities.  I feel they’re a good choice to help with glass punctures.

I can’t personally attest to this one, but people say that pumping the tires to their maximum pressure helps as well.  Anyone had experience with it?

Riding Through: Sometimes you just can’t avoid riding through all or some of the glass.  When this is the case, I look down and follow the pathway my brain calculates to be the safest route.  Yeah, I may be making it up but I honestly feel like I can see the path when I’m riding through that sort of thing.

If you’ve got some mad bunny hop skills, you can always jump over.  I’ve never tried it, but my thoughts are you better be able to clear it or landing on the glass may do more harm than riding through.

I also don’t feel that you need to slow down.  In fact, going fast just may help you avoid more of the glass pieces.

Brushing it off: I don’t wear gloves, so I’ve never personally tried this one (yeah, I really don’t)…..and I only recommend doing this if you’ve got gloves.  Once through the glass, use the padded palm of the glove and lightly place it over your moving front tire.  Yeah, you have to be comfortable and coordinated enough to do this without getting your hand caught up in your brakes.  But if you can immediately brush off the glass before doing too many revolutions, it will help keep the splinters from puncturing your tire.

The back tire is a little more tricky as you basically have to do the same thing as you did on the front, but without looking.  Keep your eyes on the road, reach back and lightly place your palm on the revolving tire.

Postings: Depending on where you live, there may be websites that post poor road conditions….including broken glass.  Have a look in your area, as it might help you avoid locations with unavoidable glass.

Your Turn: What other tips or suggestions do you have about cycling through glass?

Enjoy Your Ride
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6 Responses to “ Cycling with Glass on the Road ”

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  2. Eric Hutchins on August 3, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    I really like the Gatorskins mentioned earlier. I thinking hopping is a pretty dicey move (as you said) because if you land with force in the middle of the glass it could go pretty badly.
    I think you advice is good and I do thing if you have gloves its a good idea to try to brush it off but.. ouch be careful.

  3. Charles Huss on August 3, 2014 at 7:12 am

    We have bike lanes around here (Tampa Bay area) and on busy roads the bike lanes are covered in glass and other road debris. I think the wind from speeding cars naturally push everything into the bike lanes. If I see a glass on the road or anything that might be a problem, I will either move to the street or onto the sidewalk until I pass it.

    Brushing the glass off your tires is a good idea but to be safe, I would stop and brush it off in a perpendicular direction.

    • Darryl on August 3, 2014 at 9:01 pm

      Thanks for your input, Charles. Really appreciate it.

  4. Darren on August 2, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    I’ve had the best luck with tires pumped to correct pressure, usually a few psi below max, and Continental Gatorskins. Specialized Armadillos are great too!

    • Darryl on August 3, 2014 at 9:02 pm

      Good tip. Thanks, Darren.

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