My tipping point in deciding to finally go tubeless was a beautiful January afternoon. The weather broke to provide a brief glimpse of what spring riding would feel like. The first 10 miles rolled smoothly. I’d just crested a long 3 mile climb of 1000 vertical feet and the best part of the trail laid ahead. The Red Road ridge along the spine of Oak Mountain in Birmingham is over 4 miles of gradually descending fire roads before the trail breaks off into a gnarly technical rock garden. Pedalling the cranks hard, I’ve hit over 30 mph on this section and I imagine I’m an eagle soaring over the ground.

Psshhhtt….. and my handling goes to crap. I manage to stop as I bounce over the litter of rocks. Pinch flat, great. It takes me 10 minutes to put in my spare tube and that feeling of exhilaration is gone. My momentum lost. I pedal through the end but I wonder what could have been.

The next week, I’m riding with a guy I just met on the trail. We were going to have to ride pretty smooth to make it before the park closed. We’re talking about starting mountain bike racing and I decide to try to flex a little and throw some speed on the same section of Red Road.

Psshhhtt….. this time my handling and bravado goes to crap. Double pinch flat this time. I only have one tube and the other guy doesn’t have a tube. I replace the one tire, but my patch kit doesn’t hold on the other snakebite. I’m left pushing my bike for the next 3 miles off the end of the trail where I hope I can find someone to drive me back to my car. As night begins to descend, a park ranger picks me up off the trail in an ATV. The other rider told him I was still on the trail.

After that experience, I wondered how many more times am I going to let this happen to me. I’d already increased my tire pressure to the point I wasn’t that happy with my traction or rebound off roots. It still wasn’t enough to keep pinch flats from happening. I decided that I should try to go tubeless. Google and mtbr.com are my friends, but there was an overwhelming amount of FUD in the forums and across the Internet.

After finally doing all the research and personally riding tubeless, I thought that others should have a resource where they can easily find out how to go tubeless, what the options were, and talk with others who have seen the light. Cause life is just too short for flats.