How to Stop flats from happening in the first place

Flat tires happen, and it sucks when you have to change a flat in the dark on a busy street under a street lamp. However, these events can be avoided through preventative maintenance and there are actions you can take to minimize the chances of a flat tire.

These are the actions to minimize the chances of a flat tire while commuting:

  1. Avoid broken glass and other debris on the road.
  2. Avoid bunny hopping over curves – this increases the pressure on the tire at impact.
  3. Ensure tires inflated to optimal pressure. If you see on the side of the tire it tells me that the optimal tire pressure is between 4 and 7 bar (55 and 100 psi) for my bike. The tires should be checked weekly – see maintenance schedulerubber pressure examples
  4. Check the wheels of your tires monthly and look for the following:
    1. Cracks in the rubber – if you see cracks then change them outbad tread example
    2. Bulges in the tire – this shows a weak point in the tire and indicates a good failure point
    3. If you can see the fabric due to wear – means you are starting to compromise the integrity of the tire and time to change it out
    4. If you see a different colored rubber (this is a telltale sign of wear and indicates it is time to change out the tires)
    5. Are you getting flats more often than before (3 times in the last 3 months) – then it is time for new tires.
  5. Rotate your tires per the maintenance schedule every 6 months / 2000 miles – this is done to equalize the amount of wear on your tires to prolong the life overall.
    1. When you rotate your tires, clean out the tire with a damp and soapy wash cloth to remove any small stones that might have migrated under the tire.

The actions above are preventative maintenance, which are little actions that should extend the useful life of your tires (analogous to a stitch in time saves 9) and prevent flat tires. Since implementing this process, I have not had a flat tire in the last 2.5 years, so this works!

However, flats do ultimately occur and therefore you need to know how to change out a flat tire.  Check out this article on fixing flats.

I hope that you adopt the preventative actions so that you can escape the in the dark tire changing events that I had to go through. Bike commuting is great, and you do need to do a little bit of preventative maintenance to avoid the pain I experienced and since I have adopted these actions, I too have eliminated the in the darkness tire changing events.

Let me know how this goes for you. Happy bike commuting 🙂

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