Okay, so my friend Brendan says to me, “Robb, I’ve still never had a flat on my bike – not on the road or off road.” Every time I tell him about fixing flats he reminds me of this. I think he’s trying to be humble and grateful but I detect a note of boasting.
This year bike season started in March but Winnipeg street sweeping didn’t start until mid-April so I had about 7 flats by then. (Though truthfully, three were caused by my carelessness in not properly seating the tube – blew the tube off the rim, 3 times).
I’ve flatted out on my tandem (Christa and I had a nice 60 minute walk back home while Sinéad sat in the Chariot Trailer). It was interesting how many people assured us that it was a very nice day for a walk (thank you Jon Loeppky!).
I rode over nails or glass or something at the gravel pits near Spring Hill – the locals don’t like the quads and dirt bikes riding near their homes so they ensure that it is indeed an unpleasant experience there.
The latest flat came last night – on my way home from the Bomber game and I found twin holes, likely from a staple on the road. Thanks to Tim who waited with me downtown while I fixed my flat. One bonus was that I found a toonie on the ground there – now I can buy a new tube.
Yep, its been eventful. So here are my tips for surviving flat tires on bike rides (and no, I’m not getting paid to endorse the following stores or products, it’s just what I use):
- Carry a spare tube, patches and tire levers
- Carry a pump or CO2 inflater
- Replace old tires when flats seem to come too regularly. Craig at Bikes and Beyond recommends after 2-3 flats on the same tire but I’m I little more generous.
- Proper tire pressure. Here in Winnipeg, with so many terrible roads (huge potholes, uneven train tracks and staples) I used to get pinch flats until I found that I wasn’t getting enough pressure. This is where a good home bike pump has paid off for me.
- Be prepared so that I can help others who are less prepared than I am. I’d like to be known as the guy who helps other stranded cyclists.
- My CAA membership now allows me to call in a tow for my bike. The CAA battery trucks have a bike rack on the back so if I’m stranded, I can use one of my tows to get home.
How’s your bike riding going this year? Do you have any bike breakdown stories to share?