How to Handle a Flat Bicycle Tire
A flat tire is one of the most common and frustrating problems to arise while cycling. It can be a real hassle, but fortunately, there are steps you can take to fix it and prevent it from happening again. Here’s what to do if your bicycle gets a flat tire.
Stop and Inspect
The first step is to safely stop your bicycle and inspect the tire. Determine if it’s completely flat or just a slow leak. If the tire is still partially inflated, you may be able to pump it up temporarily to get you home or to the nearest bike shop. However, if it’s completely flat, you’ll need to take it off the bike.
Remove the Wheel
To remove the wheel, you’ll need to release the brake or remove the quick-release skewer, depending on your type of brake. If you’re unsure of how to do this, consult your bike’s manual or take it to a professional mechanic. Once the wheel is off, use a tire lever to pry one side of the tire off the rim, then remove the inner tube.
Inspect the Tire and Tube
After the tube is removed, inspect it and the inside of the tire thoroughly to find the cause of the flat. Common causes include punctures from sharp objects like glass or thorns, pinch flats caused by low tire pressure, and damaged rim strips. Be sure to remove any debris from inside the tire before replacing the tube.
Replace or Patch the Tube
Once you’ve located the puncture, you’ll need to either patch or replace the inner tube. If the hole is small and on the tread face of the tire, it can easily be patched. If the puncture is large or on the sidewall, you’ll need to replace the tube. Once the tube is fixed or replaced, reassemble the wheel and inflate the tire to the recommended pressure level.
Prevent Future Flats
To prevent future flats, make sure to keep your tires properly inflated to the recommended pressure level and inspect them regularly for signs of wear or damage. Avoid riding over debris and watch for hazards on the road. Consider investing in quality tires with puncture-resistant layers or using tire sealants like Slime to minimize the risk of flats.