What to do when you have flats?

So what does one do when they have a flat while riding their bike. It pretty obvious, use it as a teaching moment for the new people in your social riding club. Read on.

Today’s Ciclistas Urbanos ride was a fun ride but I had a tube with a slow to moderate leak. I noticed it on the first stop at the coffee shop. I told the group to ride on and I’ll catch up to them when I’m done. After inspecting the tube I found only one spot where there was a small leak and patched it up. I doubled-timed it to the next stop to meet up with the group and when I got there I noticed that the tire was low on air. Oh Well, I figured that I’ll just keep adding air (since it’s free) and ride to the next stop for lunch. Seemed like a good idea. My little pump is able to pump in 120 psi of free air!

After having a great lunch at Feldmans I decided that the ride back would be too much for the tire so I decided to use this opportunity to show some of the new members on how to change the tube. None of them had done it before and this was a great teaching moment. I had to show them twice since the tube I put in was bad! It wasn’t a new tube and apparently, I brought the tube with a bad valve stem. Good thing someone had a new spare tube for me to use. Popped it back in and pumped in some more of that free air and bingo presto my tire was ready to go.

Some offered their spare tube to their bike, but I had to explain to them that their mountain bike tire would not work in my 700x23c tires. Some had seen tire levers but had no idea what they were used before. Overall, I think they got the basic understanding of the tools and techniques used to take the tire off, check for any sharp protruding objects under the tire, replacing the tube and reassemble the tire.

First Flat

Well, today I was all set to go out for my daily neighborhood ride. As I was going out of my room, with my bike, I heard and felt the bike behave abnormally. Initially, I thought that there was something stuck on the tire but I didn’t see anything. Upon closer inspection I noticed that it was flat. Wahoo!!

What? I’m excited? Yes, because this gives me an ideal opportunity to see how hard it is to change the tire on this bike. I gathered up my tools and went outside to work on this. It was a little hot so I took a fan as well. Flipping the bike over and setting it down, I started taking the rear wheel off. Not bad, fairly easy. I took the liberty to inspect the cassette and noticed that It was a little dirty, so I’ll take care of cleaning it over the weekend.

I sat down and got out the tire levers and proceeded to remove the tire. Wow! Was that ever easy. I really needed only one tire level to remove the tire. I’m so used to needing excessive force to get it off and on. Maybe because it was a 700×32 tire and not the skinnier ones from my previous road bike. Whatever the reason, I like the end result. I got the tube out, patched and back on without much fuss.

What caused the flat? Looks like a small splint that just missed the liner. The hole matches where I found the splint on the tire, but I carefully ran my fingers along the inside of the tire to be sure. Nothing else was found, so I’m pretty sure that was the culprit.

After this exercise, I feel a lot more comfortable in changing a flat on this bike and I know exactly the amount of tools needed to do it with.

Because of the flat, I didn’t get to go out for my ride. Now I have to ride for five days straight to achieve my goal of five hours on the saddle. That will be a challenge, but I’m up to it.