I admit: I was skeptical. I might still be, a little. But when I got my flat tire last weekend, and went out looking for an inner tube on Tuesday - not having time to hit an actual bike shop, I stopped at the Zellers in Billings Bridge Mall - I discovered that the bike 'section' in the Zellers only had one 26" inner tube left, and it was a "Mongoose" self-healing inner tube. Claimed to be puncture proof. Filled with liquid goop that would, if the tube was punctured, seal the hole.
Here's a description of the sort of thing I mean: essentially the tube is filled with a sealant that flows around inside it, until it's exposed to the air because of a puncture. Then it sets and self-creates a patch on the inside of the inner tube.
It sounds like sorcery to me.
But I bought the tube, brought it home, and put it in. Then rode it to work, unfortunately with the nail still in the tire; with the result previously described. And had to leave my bike overnight at work, again, with a sadly deflated tire. So today, I stopped on my way in and bought a new tube, but I did harbour some nagging little hope that maybe, just maybe, the magical and mysterious goop that was supposed to be in the tube I'd already purchased and installed would have done its thing. After all, I did manage to ride my bike to work with a nail through the back tire, without noticing.
And I'm still not sure I believe what happened. I got to work, and started working, so naturally it wasn't until about 1:30 PM that I decided to try pumping up my sad deflated tire. I did, and then left it for a bit to see if it would leak air (and if it did, I was going to have to replace the tube, in time to make it to a poetry show I was covering at 4:00.)
It didn't. In fact, I then rode the bike 5k downtown, parked it outside the show for a couple of hours, then rode it the rest of the way home, with no discernible loss of air. I kept pausing at red lights to look back at my back tire and bounce a little on the seat, trying to see if it had sunk any. It hadn't. So I pulled an inch-long nail out of my tire yesterday, then let it sit, immobile, for nearly 24 hours - not really giving the goop a chance to slosh around in there and find the hole - and then simply inflated it and rode off.
I'm in awe. All hail the goop.