Pop goes your tire… oh no! Seconds ago you were on the open road, 20k into a 90k ride; the sun was shining on your back, the wind in your face; you were flying at an average pace of 30km/h and everything was perfect. Now your tire's flat. It happens.
It’s so easy to pop a tire that most experienced cyclists always carry a spare tube and a travel size pump. If you’re not prepared for an eventual tire pop, you could find yourself stranded. Worse still is thinking there may have been a few things you could have done to avoid it.
Here are a few tips to keep your tires in shape:
- If you are getting several flats within a short period of time, it’s probably time to change your tire.
- Check for cuts, tearing, or any other visible imperfections of the tires.
- Clean your tire with a dry rag to remove any and all excess material that could puncture your tire.
- Take a good look at the tire shape; if you notice the tire is ballooning out along the rim, there is a high chance you have torn the tire on the side and it’s time for a change.
- Be mindful of how you are storing your bike. Ensure you aren’t storing it against or on anything that could cause damage to your tires. If you can store your bike off its wheels, that’s even better, especially when storing your bike over the winter.
- Check your tire pressure before every ride. If you notice it dropping by 30-50 PSI overnight, you have a slow leak that will certainly cause problems.
Already have a flat? Need some help changing it? There are a number of helpful video walkthroughs out there, including one from Trek titled "How to Fix a Flat."
Flats are a way of life for experienced cyclists and a rite of passage for newbies. Knowing what to look for, and being prepared in the event of a flat can make all the difference.