If you ranked the most annoying things for bike riders; 'flat tyres' would come in a close third behind 'drivers who don't indicate' and 'swooping magpies'.
The good news is there are things you can do about preventing flat tyres that don't require yelling or attaching zip ties to your helmet!
Here are our top four favourite tips to avoid the dreaded flatties, blow-outs, punnies, snake bites, pinch flat or just good old fashioned leaks:
Tyre Puncture Prevention Tip One: Avoid punctures from debris by avoiding sketchy material on the road and inspecting your tyres regularly. Often, a bit of glass will get stuck in your tyre without puncturing it. It’s only after you’ve ridden further that the glass is pushed all the way through the tyre and into the tube. If you notice that you've just ridden through a patch of broken glass, stop and check your tyres before riding on. By removing it early, you can prevent flat tyres!
It helps to have good puncture resistant tyres - ask Reid for the best option for your bike. We stock puncture protected tyres to suit mountain bikes, road bikes, commuters and more.
Puncture Prevention Tip Two: Avoid pinch flats (a.k.a. snake bikes) by keeping your tyres pumped up to the recommended pressure. Pinch flats occur when the tyre doesn’t have enough air in it, allowing it to squash down and pinch the tube between the wheel and the ground.
The recommended pressure will be listed on side of the tyre in the format of some number PSI. A road bike tyre will usually be rated to 120 psi, while a mountain bike tyre may be rated to 50 psi; with hybrids, commuters and touring bikes somewhere in the middle. Generally, 100 psi for a road bike, 50 for a mountain bike and 70 for a hybrid or commuting style bike is a decent rule of thumb.
Buy a pump with a gauge and check your tyre pressure every week or two. Reid have a great range of pumps available online and in-store.
Puncture Prevention Tip Three: Avoid sidewall cuts by looking after your tyres! The sidewall of a tyre is not supposed to contact anything, so it’s not as tough as the main tread of the tyre. Grazes or cuts in the sidewall are bad news for the tyre. If they’re bad enough, the tyre will definitely need to be replaced. They often happen when loading a bike in and out of a vehicle, or by scraping the wheel along a kerb. Inspect your side walls regularly, and make sure that you don’t bash them on things.
Puncture Prevention Tip Four: Prevent rim punctures or blowouts by inspecting your wheel and rim when you replace your tyre, and ensuring that your tyre is seated properly on your rim before setting out. When you’re replacing your tube and tyre, it’s a good idea to check the rim of the wheel for burrs, making sure that the rim tape is in place and covering all the spokes properly, and that none of the spokes are poking through the rim tape. Everything should be smooth, with no rough or pointy bits.
Follow these four tips, and you'll prevent flat tyres in most cases, but it's important to be prepared for the worst. Make sure you're carrying a tube, a couple of tyre levers and a mini pump and that you know how to use them. Our friendly Reid Cycles store staff will be happy to show you how it's done, so you can ride with confidence.