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  1. #1
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    visiting phoenix - goatheads or other hazards on paved or dirt trails?

    if this has been discussed, sorry for new thread - my searches didn't give what i was looking for.

    i'm visiting phoenix for the next 2 weeks and brought my mountainbike. i've got a set of 1.4" wide slicks with regular tubes. i also have good offroad tires with the heavy thorn resistant tubes.

    i'm planning on running the canal trails on slicks when it isn't hot (night or morning) and i'm wondering what sort of hazards i should look out for?
    should i worry about goatheads or sharp objects on the canal trails?

    i underestimated the heat out here. your monsoon season is pretty nasty with the humidity/heat, so i think i'm going to avoid checking out your mountainbike trails as i'd have to go at night and i'm not skilled enough for that.

  2. #2
    Happy Trails
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    visiting phoenix - goatheads or other hazards on paved or dirt trails?

    I can't answer the question about goatheads and stickers on the canal trails... But don't hesitate to try out early morning mountain bike trail rides. It's actually pretty comfortable at 5am. In the McDowell Mountain Park, clockwise loop around Pemberton trail would be very makeable for you and takes a medium-skills rider like me about 90 minutes. Counter-clockwise loop around the fun Sport Loop trail takes 20 minutes, or about an 45 minutes for the more technical technical Long Loop. Most riders on the desert trails are definitely using tubeless tires with sealant or slimed-tubes in their wheels.

  3. #3
    My other ride is your mom
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    dump the regular tubes....get slime tubes for your visit out here. That's not a recommendation, that's a requirement. If you planned on being out here longer, I'd suggest wider tires and going with a tubeless conversion like Stans....but for your short visit....get some slime tubes.

  4. #4
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    Riding at 5AM is cooler than riding just after sunset in the dark...

    Not sure the canal is all that safe at night anyway
    fat old man ... fueled by Mexican pastries....

  5. #5
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    We don't have goatheads here, just cactus. Not much of that on the canals. There more a risk of glass there. I run with tubes and liners. I get occasional flats, but they are from cactus and rarely go flat on the trails. Most often they go flat the next day due slow tiny leak. I ride single track just about all the time in the dirt. Riding a 5:30 am is perfect. The sun is about to come up and there is plenty of light. You can ride for 3 hrs before it gets "too hot" to ride. Sunset rides are nice, but the ride window only lasts until 1 hour before it gets too dark and you need lights. Plus air temps are hotter then than in the moring. 5:30 am ride temps start in lower 80's.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  6. #6
    Give it a crank
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    Pretty much what's been said, except I do pickup goatheads once in a while from streets and have found them the hard way along canals too but they're rare. Carry a tire pump and patch kit and you won't have to worry.

    I also prefer tubes with slime, the ATV slime is thicker and seals better than other kinds of slime I've tried. I wouldn't touch pre-filled slime tubes, I always got flats with those. Ditch the liners too, they don't help that much and reduce squishiness.

  7. #7
    The Original Suspect
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    I can tell you that if you are riding East Valley (Mesa) canals, they are paved and your chances of flatting are slim. I have put hundreds of miles on the canals and never had a flat.

    As for the canal that runs from Scottsdale towards Red Mtn, last I knew it was dirt and you may encounter goat heads there.

    Other trails may have goat heads and often Cholla cactus will be on the trail, especially after a rain.

    As stated, early morning is a great time to ride, especially during the week. You need to get out early though, 5:30 or so.

    Enjoy!!

  8. #8
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    wow - thanks for all the input!

    i ran into a random piece of that cholla cactus in another state once on a hiking trail. thought i'd carefully pick it up and place it somewhere away from the trail and other hikers. i swear the second i tried to pick it up by one needle, 4 of them seemed to close in on my fingers. that was hilarious and painful. luckily someone with our group rescued me with a comb.
    i think i'll steer clear of the cacti and keep to paved areas.

    i'll also grab that atv slime and throw it in my tubes.

    Thanks!

  9. #9
    The Original Suspect
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    Any time I ride in AZ I always have a small multi-tool with a plier in my Camelback for the unfortunate contact with a cholla.

  10. #10
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    My biggest problem around the Canals is not cactus or goat heads but bugs! At least the one time I tried it in the summer they were so thick I swore never to ride near it again. If it is close by I would suggest riding around Papago park. The dirt paths there are easy and there isn't nearly as much cactus as most of the other trails around.

  11. #11
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maadjurguer View Post
    dump the regular tubes....get slime tubes for your visit out here. That's not a recommendation, that's a requirement. If you planned on being out here longer, I'd suggest wider tires and going with a tubeless conversion like Stans....but for your short visit....get some slime tubes.
    This is good advice. You don't want to get "stuck" somewhere because you got a flat. Epic sidewall failures are still possible if riding off-road in sharp rocks, but you want to minimize the risk of small stuff giving you a flat and making life miserable in the heat.

    The goatheads exist in the higher terrain, usually 3-5500' or so. Above that altitude and you're in ponderosa forests where they don't really grow, and below that altitude you're in the full-on saguaro cactus desert where there are many other sharp things that grow to worry about. I occasionally ran things like rim strips, lightly slimed tubes and a ghetto-tubeless setup in Prescott (about 5500' starting elevation for most rides). Really the only place where I would experience goatheads was Granite Basin, but it was somewhat seasonal and most of the time I ran nothing other than a regular tube and didn't have a problem, just some occasional goatheads. If I lived in Phoenix, I'd run tubeless and sealant, no question (in fact, I'm running tubeless and sealant right now, but not in AZ).
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maadjurguer View Post
    dump the regular tubes....get slime tubes for your visit out here. That's not a recommendation, that's a requirement. If you planned on being out here longer, I'd suggest wider tires and going with a tubeless conversion like Stans....but for your short visit....get some slime tubes.
    Wow! Over react much?
    Might as well tell him to be on the look out for marauding bands of coyotes, javelinas and chupacabras looking to eat him alive.
    OP says he plans to ride the canals... Much better advice given by other posters... Put some slime in your tubes, you'll be OK.

  13. #13
    I am Bob
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    I'm not sure where the idea that goat heads are not in the valley is coming from. I don't see them much on desert trails, but I get them all the time when commuting on canals and roads, I pull them off my dog's paws almost every week. It might be an invasive plant, but it is here.

    This is what we're talking about, right? If so any valley canal rider, roadie, or bike commuter knows them very well.
    Tribulus terrestris - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    For my canal riding and commuting I like to put Stans in my tubes via removable core tubes. The only bummer about doing that is that using tube patch kits is difficult since the moisture from the sealant interferes with the adhesive. so make sure to carry a couple of tubes just in case.

  14. #14
    The Original Suspect
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    ^^This!

    I lived in the Phoenix metro area for over twenty years and goat heads were very common. I can't tell you how many flats I fixed for my kids from them.

    OP if you are riding paved canals, they are a well used exercise source for cyclists, runners, baby jogger moms and gossiping housewives. My point being that they are generally pretty clear from the traffic they receive. You will find an occasional broken bottle or some other detritus in the path, but it is easily avoidable. That being said, don't sweat the small stuff, bring the gear you would usually bring on a ride (spare tube, patch kit, etc.), slime is a good idea, but chances are you wont flat.

    One poster did mention bugs, and this is true, especially in the early morning or evening. They aren't that bad and are generally small swarms of gnats that you may ride thru before you see them.

    Enjoy your time in the Valley!!!

  15. #15
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    I have to admit I don't ride the canals much, but I have never had an issue when I have. Where I ride is desert and the only worry are cactus. I road bike too and the only worry there is glass. Then again I ride (both mtn and road) in area where is pretty much all desert plants.
    Joe
    2003 KHS Alite 4000 26" Hardtail - XC, All mountain, blah blah blah.. I just ride.

  16. #16
    Elitest thrill junkie
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    Quote Originally Posted by chongoman View Post
    This is what we're talking about, right? If so any valley canal rider, roadie, or bike commuter knows them very well.
    Tribulus terrestris - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Those are definitely goat heads!
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  17. #17
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    Do NOT use SLIME Tubes, use True Goo. The last 4 Slime Tubes I got failed at the STEM, not from punctures and obtained from 3 different sources.
    Don't believe that goatheads are only found at higher elevations, they're found from below sea level to at least 7000'. I'm a landscaper and have pulled thousands from the ground. You won't find them in my neighborhood as I've removed every one by a road, alley or trail.
    agmtb

  18. #18
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    I also had trouble with the slime tubes at the stem. But for me the fix was just making sure the stems sat in a way where the slime can't dry in the stem. Dried slime in the stem can make it tough to fully close the stem and cause a leak.
    “Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.”
-Grant Petersen

  19. #19
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    Thanks for the input - it has helped me and I'm sure it will help whoever comes across this in the future

    I ended up riding over to the grand canal trail which is paved, but it has those barriers to prevent cars every so often (which requires you to drop off about 1+ inch onto dirt to get around sometimes) and you have to cross the road just about every time it intersects. On top of that, the anti-bicyclist apartment complex residents are using the paved path to recycle glass. my best estimate is about 1/8th mile of unavoidable perfectly spread broken glass on this path. i did not have any flats though. as stated - lots of little bug swarms to ride through, so it is best to just breathe through your nose unless you'd like a gnat snack.

    overall, it was nice to get out and ride around when it was cool (early morning as suggested).

    I'll try the AZ canal trail next. I'm trying to stick to paved or packed dirt for now.
    You guys who ride around cactus are hardcore. Even if I ran an airless tube or something, I'd hate to fall into a cactus or have my tire spit one up at me.

  20. #20
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    - lots of little bug swarms to ride through, so it is best to just breathe through your nose unless you'd like a gnat snack.[/QUOTE]

    How to deal with GNATS! Buy a 'Buzz Off' bandana (sold a camping supply stores) and put it on (velcro) or under your helmet. The marigold based pyrethrum repels them. The bandana works for your head. They also make shirts and pants but gnats don't annoy me much there.
    agmtb

  21. #21
    Meatbomb
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    I doubt the bandana will have much of an opportunity to repel them when moving at 12 mph. Sitting still maybe.

  22. #22
    Give it a crank
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    A banana on the handlebar will draw the gnats away from your face.

  23. #23
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    .

  24. #24
    I am Bob
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    evil devil weed seen this morning.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails visiting phoenix - goatheads or other hazards on paved or dirt trails?-photo.jpg  


  25. #25
    Give it a crank
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    Got two of these off my front tire this morning, after my ride down the street. What a terrible hazard, I'm still shocked, just look at the evil horny thing.


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