Thursday, February 16, 2017

Flatter Than Usual: Getting Pumped Up When Changing a Flat Tire

Flatter Than Usual: Getting Pumped Up When Changing a Flat Tire

If you're an avid cyclist, you've probably experienced the one thing that can really ruin a good ride, a flat tire.  Many new bike owners often skip the most important accessory with their new bike, the flat tire repair kit.  At The Caffeinated Cyclist, we often ask new bike customers if they are familiar with changing a flat and if they would like to know what what tools they need in order to change it.  The response is usually "I'll just call so and so to come pick me up" followed by a chuckle, or two.  But what happens when "so and so" doesn't pick up the phone and you're out in the middle of nowhere, what then? Being self sufficient is part of being a cyclist, I mean you wouldn't leave home without your water bottle's right? What would you do if you got thirsty?

I remember a road ride this past summer, I was on my lunch hour, and disaster struck twice.  My first flat left me on the corner of Breakneck road near Mantua TWP.  While I was changing my tube, I had plenty of drivers slow down to ask if I was OK, and needed any help. I told them I was fine and they moved along, not knowing what a tube changing ninja I was.  Before I put a fresh tube in, I checked my tire first to make sure whatever sharp object caused my flat wasn't still in there.  To my disappointment, I found a small cut in the tire.  At the moment, all I was thinking about was my hour of ride time slipping away and how this flat tire was to blame.  Luckily I keep a few glue less patches with me, and pressed one in the inside of the tire.  It looked like I would be well on my way as put the new tube in, closed up the tire, and slipped the wheel back into my trusty Cannondale.  I was back on the road again, and got a little sun tan in the process.

As I continued my shortened ride, I began to head back to work, and made sure I took some challenging hills along the way. Riding back into the town of Pitman, I headed up Cedar Ave and I felt the rim against the pavement.  It was the rear wheel again, so I knew it had to do with the hole I just patched on Breakneck.  I opened my saddle bag and pulled out my second tube, to fix my second flat. Since I used my only CO2 on the last flat, I had to break out the mini pump. But it was enough to get me cruising back to the store in one piece.  I couldn't recall the last time I had two flats in one ride, which was a good thing I guess. Nothing has come close to the 5 flats I had in one week, which included a tubular tire.  But since I was prepared with the proper flat tire kit, I wasn't left on the side of the road, on my phone, calling for help. 

If you're new to changing flat tires on your own, you can see an instructional video here staring yours truly. Remember, all it takes is a little confidence and some elbow grease to get back on the road again.  For updates on up coming flat tire seminars, stay tuned to our Facebook page for details.

Happy Riding!

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