Tech Tips: How to Prevent Flat Tires
There are two types of bike riders: those who have gotten a flat tire, and those that will get a flat tire. Stuck on the side of the road is never a pleasurable experience, but luckily there are a few things you can do to prevent them from occurring.
Tip #1 - Check tire pressure often
Pinch flats occur when the tire bottoms out against the rim pinching and tearing the tube underneath. This type of flat occurs when the tire is under inflated allowing it to compress too much. Check the recommended tire pressure on the side of your tires, and if you live in an area with lots of potholes make sure to check the tires pressure before each ride
and keep your tire pressure on the high side of the recommended range.
Tip #2 - Line tire with baby powder
A trick an unhappy friend passed along to me after I got stranded 30 miles from home with a flat tire was to line the inside of the tire with baby powder to help prevent flats. Much like using oil when cooking, the baby powder prevents the rubber inner tube from sticking to the tire. This prevents the tube from being stretched and tearing when the tire deforms. So the next time you have to change a tire, you may want to spread some baby powder inside of it.
Tip #3 - Check rim where flat tire occurred
There is nothing worse than getting another flat tire immediately after changing your tube. Make sure to take note where the inner tube is leaking and cross check the rim to make sure there is nothing there that could have caused the flat
. You should check to make sure the rim tape is still functioning properly and that there is no object or sharp edge where the flat occured.
Tip #4 - Avoid pot holes (and other objects)
After purchasing my first road bike, I took it for a nice little spin around the Fort Lauderdale airport. It was then I learned that staring directly at a pot hole only ensures that you will run right into it. Avoid pot holes/glass/etc as much as you can and if you do have to run over a fairly large pothole make sure to un-weight your saddle and use your knees to absorb the shock (bonus tip: use the throttle to maintain your speed so you don't slow down).
While not all flats are preventable, hopefully these tips will keep you on the road. If anybody else has any tips they would like to share feel free to pass them along below!