Are you ready?

Kind of an ambiguous question isn't it? Ready for what. Some might say "I'm training [hard/sort of/better/some], so yeah, I'm ready", others might say "I'm ready to race Monday at North Shore" or "I'm getting ready"

What we're asking is not about racing, or training directly but are you prepared for... a flat tire.

Are you ready for a flat tire? Such a stupid question (BTW they lied when they said there was no such thing as a stupid question- that was to make you feel less like a dork at the time) but after witnessing Wednesday's bike workout...

So, let's make sure you are ready!

Essentials;

  • bike pump with the correct adapter for the valves you use (probably presta but many pumps come set for the older lower pressure schrader valves)
    • alternately you can use CO2 cartridges. Make sure you have enough for multiple flats- unlike a pump that can fill many, many flat tires, CO2 cartridges while fast and high pressure and one shot deals. If you screw it up you're SOL. We recommend you carry a pump in training and CO2 for races. For longer races a pump can be a handy back up as opposed to a DNF.
  • spare inner tube(s) of the correct size! This includes the following dimensions;
    • rim size (ie 650 or 700 cc),
    • tire volume (19-23 mm normally)
    • valve type of your rims (i.e. presta or schrader) AND
    • valve length (i.e. 90 mm for deep dish rims!) Unless you have and carry valve extenders with you...
  • store the tubes in plastic bags to protect them from water and dirt. You'd be shocked at how much of that gets tossed up under your butt on a rainy day!
    • Dust the tubes in talcum powder to keep them from sticking, both in storage and when in use.
    • If you're a speed freak, have the locking ring backed off the valve as far as possible but leave the cap on to keep the valve clean and dirt free.
    • Some riders will unpack and refold the tube from the valve out to protect the valve- what ever keeps you happy I guess.
  • OR tubular tires if you use them- pre-glued is best unless your faith puts the Pope to shame.
  • tire levers- these should be plastic so as to protect the rim- you'll need at least two but three is always safer. The ones with little hooks on one end are easiest to use as you can slip the hooks over the spokes to help remove the tire
  • if you are environmentally friendly, have bad luck or can't change a flat to save your life you should also pack a patch kit, for those days you flat one more time than you have tubes for...

Next installment, how to change the flat quickly and efficiently. There will be a test, so pay attention and practice.

If you're lucky the test won't be in a race!