Purchase the equipment and carry with you in a seat bag on all rides. Spare tubes, tire levers, CO2 cartridges and adapter and/or hand pump.
Practice changing a tire at home. Try a CO2 system beforehand.
- If you have a flat tire when riding with a group – notify those behind you that you have a flat and cycle to the side of the road. Go entirely off the road onto the grass or gravel to ensure you don’t become a road hazard.
- If your back wheel has the flat, move the chain to the smallest gear in the back cassette (change gears to that spot) BEFORE removing the wheel.
- Don’t forget to open the brake caliper lever.
- Run your thumbs along one side of the whole tire to loosen the tire to the rim a bit.
- Two tire levers work best – one to stay put under the rim and tire and hooked to a spoke and the other tire lever to remove the tire along the rim.
- Remove the flattened tube. Fold up and carry back with you – leave no garbage on the road side.
- Run your fingers (or look) on the underside of the tire to ensure you don’t have anything (glass, etc.) inside the tire before you replace it with a new one – or you will have another flat tire right away!
- Inflate the new tube slightly (by mouth or with a hand pump) to make it manageable for inserting inside the tire.
- Insert the new tube inside the tire starting with the valve stem and ensure that no part of the tube is sticking out or you may have a pinch flat – that is when the rim of the tire pinches the tube of the tire.
- Use the tire levers to pry the tire back on the rim and be careful not to pinch the tube when doing so.
- Pump up the tire with your hand pump or use the CO2 cartridge system to inflate the tire quickly.
- To put your wheel on the back, line up the chain to the smallest gear on the back cassette and let the wheel fall into place. Ensure the wheel lever is secure and close the brake caliper.
- To put your front wheel back on, ensure that you close the brake caliper after the wheel is in place. Give the wheel a quick spin to see if the brakes are rubbing. If they are, you may need to re-adjust the alignment of the wheel.
- Give the crank a couple of turns to ensure the chain is aligned properly on the back cassette.
- Cycle slowly at first to be sure everything is ready to go before you rejoin a group.
The best tip to avoid a flat tire is inflate your bike tires to the proper PSI – over 100 PSI for a road bike tire and over 60 PSI for a mountain bike tire.