With the weather improving and triathlon season here it is time to get out on the bike! Unfortunately when you ride it isn’t a question of if you’ll have a flat tire, but when you’ll have a flat tire. I thought I’d put together a handy guide to make sure you are prepared for that flat!
First off, you need to carry the right tools and equipment with you. Since my old bike bag seems to have gone on a walkabout I picked up a brand new one, the XLab Mega Bag.
I like that this bag is big enough to hold several tubes and tools, yet it fits nicely behind my seat, connected to my bottle cages. What should you put in said bag?
- Multiple spare tubes
- A sturdy set of tire irons
- A CO2 inflator – I particularly like the kind where you can control the flow of gas from the canister, like the Ultraflate Plus from Genuine Innovations
- Multiple CO2 canisters – make sure they are compatible with your inflator
- Multi-tool kit
Other things you should have on you? A cell phone and your Road ID!
When it comes to being prepared for a flat your best bet is to practice. When I first started riding I would take some time to change my tire at home over and over again. That way it becomes second nature. After all, you don’t want to be stuck on the side of a busy road with little shoulder, trying to watch a YouTube video that tells you how to change your tube out. It is also good to practice using your CO2 inflator if you’ve never used one before. You don’t want to lose all that valuable CO2 to the atmosphere because you weren’t sure how to use the tool. And trust me, CO2 to inflate a tire is way better than using a little hand pump! DC Rainmaker has a really good post on how to inflate your tire with CO2.
And finally, when you do get a flat, remember to take all of your garbage home with you! As for that little washer and plastic cap on your tube?
You don’t need them. It just adds extra time to changing your flat, something you don’t need if your flat happens during a race.
My first flat of the season – 6 minutes to change the tire, 2 minutes spent trying to put the back wheel on and posing for pictures. Note the missing bike bag because my replacement hadn’t arrived in the mail. Thank goodness for friends who have all the necessary tools!
What is your best flat tire story? Mine was probably my first solo tire change on the side of a road, detailed right here. There is nothing like having your tire go BOOM on you!