After seeing far too many people fixing flats near or on the I-90 Bridge last week, Gary Powell went back to the scene to see if he could find the source. After a little searching, he and some others found them: Tacks all over the trail on Mercer Island.
I rode to work on Friday morning like I always do, and on my way across the Mercer Island I-90 trail, I noticed a lot of folks with flat tires. I didn’t think much of it, but I did slow down and confirm that the riders were “Ok” before riding on. After crossing the bridge I came to the I-90 tunnel and saw my friend and co-worker James, who was patching his tire. Two other cyclists stopped to help him out with the job. From one of the other riders I found out that he had counted 6 riders with flats from carpet tacks. James’s flat was also caused by a tack, that made 7 we knew about.
On my way home, I rode with another buddy from work, Tim, and we saw three more cyclists stopped fixing flats. We stopped right after that and rubbed our tires hoping that we hadn’t picked up any tacks ourselves. We were lucky so far.
The rest of the ride home was uneventful, but Tim mentioned that he has had a lot of flats by tack in the last month, and had tried various ways to avoid them. He tried using Slime tubes, Kevlar tires, tire liners etc all to no avail. I resolved to take some time on Saturday and see if I could locate the source of these tacks and clean them up.
Saturday at the crack of noon I headed to the hardware store where I bought a magnet on a stick.
The tacks were eventually located on the eastern highrise of the I-90 Bridge, where it enters Mercer Island.
Similar tack problems have been reported in Portland an Vancouver, WA in recent months. One Portland man is even offering a $500 reward for information that leads to the conviction of the person responsible.
Tacks were also strewn along the route of this year’s Seattle to Portland Classic. One person was injured after losing control after getting a flat.
Have you experienced flats on the I-90 Trail recently?