It really is true, you can ride a flat tubular. To test this theory, I decided to do a loop of Oneida Lake with a clincher on the front and a tubular on the back.
To explain this setup, you have to look at this past week where I flatted my rear clincher twice. Upon close examination of the clincher rear, I decided it was time for the tire to go and being mid-March, I did not have a backup that wasn't of the cx variety. So I pulled out an old deep dish HED w/a tubular that saw primary duty on the TT/Tri bike to cover me for the scheduled long ride planned for Sunday.
At the point absolutely farthest from my house (near the NW corner of Oneida Lake past Brewerton), I noted the rear tubular seemed a bit soft. I hopped off, popped a cartridge in the inflator and watched the tire firm up with the satisfaction of knowing the tire was good to go. Suddenly a big hiss emerged from a minute cut and the tire went soft. (This is what they call the "oh shit" moment.)
I figured I'd nurse it for a few miles to see how it worked out before sending out a formal SOS... well it was a slow ka-chunk, ka-chunk, ka-chunk with each rotation of the uninflated tire. The head wind, while not harsh, was enough to try to further rattle me as it was from the east. (How freakin often is the wind coming from the east?) I pressed on with new goals at each small village to make it to the next small village. Once to Sylvan Beach, I was ka-chunkingly inspired with thoughts of a tailwind once I got to route 31. Finally Lakeport and the left turn home. Water & food gone and 60 minutes behind schedule but I was gonna make it. I ka-cunked into the driveway about an hour later than planned having proved yes, you can ride a flat tubular.