So while on a ride yesterday- had my first flat. This was also my first completely solo ride.
Now to say I was “prepared” for a flat would be a lie. I had not practiced changing a Tube, playing with the tools, or even really looking into doing any of this at all.
However, I was prepared, by ensuring(with the use of a friend who is a very very experienced rider) that I HAD all of the tools and materials I would need when the “Day of the First Flat” would come.
Although I only took pics of the Flat and the Fixed Tire. I would like to go through and talk about the experience.
There I was, it felt like I must have been going like 50 MPH on a straight away!!(in the real world that equals about 15-17 MPH sorries). When the road suddenly got a lot more rough than just seconds before. I pretty much knew something was wrong- but what could it be? I immediately stopped pedaling and started to slowly apply both brakes. While slowing, I discounted anything falling off, completely broken, or a catastrophic failure- I mean, I didn’t do a flip, skid to a halt and I was still upright right? So it can’t be too bad…..
As I slowed, I picked a good line in front of me that gave me a few seconds of “I can look around” time. I looked down and beheld a front tire that was bowing under the rim. Woot!! Figured out what was wrong! A flat Front Tire!….. Not what the hell am I gonna do! Oh that’s right, I have a tool bag under the saddle.
So I got off, moved far onto the side of the road- nice little grassy area to work in, it was a great temporary office. Took off the wheel and just started to inspect it. “Something” had caused the flat, so I figured the best route would be to find That, before doing anything else. I identified a staple sticking out of the side of the rubber. Now I am no expert, but I am pretty sure I haven’t seen this staple installed there before. So I pulled it out(the tube btw, is pretty much completely empty. at this point).
Now I get to use tools! I pulled out the Tire Levers to get the tire off the wheel, which was pretty simple- although I am totally glad I had two levers, that made it much easier to work around the rim. Now, I know you don’t “have to”, but I took it all the way off(paying attention to the directional arrow so I could re install it correctly(50/50 right?). I then inspected the area the staple was in and the rest of the inside and outside of it to ensure it was free of FOD. I then removed the old tube and folded it up as small as possible. Pulled out a new tube and a Pop Bottle(tis what I call the CO2 cartridges) and the valve to screw onto it. Put on the new tube, which was easier than expected. And now the fun part. Getting the damn tire back on and making sure not to crimp or overlap the tube at all(it seemed logical that filling up a tube with it not “fully inside the tire” could lead to issues. That part was fun. I ended up putting just a bit of air in the tube, and that helped out immensely. This part probably took 5 minutes by itself haha.
Now I find where my tools are wanting. I don’t have a gauge. So I used my hand as a gauge :). I took the partially inflated tire to the back of the bike and felt the back tire. Then just kept putting in air until they felt “about the same”. It worked pretty darn good too. When I got home I put my track pump on it and I was at like 118 psi- which is just 2 psi below what I manually inflate them- good times.
I rolled up the old tube, and stuck it in my saddle bag. Put the pop bottle in my jersey pocket. The valve and levers back in the saddle bag. And put the Wheel back on the bike. Everything is now cleaned up and the bike is all back together.
Woot first flat fixed and ready to go! Good times.
I plan on continuing with the same tool combo’s and materials. However, I want to find and add a small hand pump with a gauge on it. So I can use the pop bottle for the convenience of putting a lot of volume in fast, and then fine tune the pressure with the hand pump. Is this a normal practice? Or even advisable? I ask, because I only had about 5 miles left of the ride. But, were I out on a 50 Mile + ride, I don’t know if I would be very comfortable on an “Unknown” Tube Pressure. I am sure one can be found that will easily fit in a jersey pocket- I don’t think I would really want it on the frame, no real reason why, but it just does not appeal to me right now.
And this concludes the first flat for New Guy Cycling lol. I am sure there are many to come. I am just glad and very thankful I had what I needed to handle it without to much issue.
Let me know what ya think!