We all do it– the internal monologue cuing us through our pre-ride cycling checklist.
Tire pressure? Good.
Food? Of course.
Water? In this heat, you know it.
And the list goes on.
So you may think you’re ready to go, right? Well not so fast.
When we all buy our first bike, we do a little research as to the basic needs of cycling–chamois, helmet and perhaps some gloves and sleek sunglasses.
That is until you see someone with a really cool looking kit. So you buy a really cool looking kit.
Then we see people “clipping in”, so we head back to the shop and buy shoes, cleats and pedals to match.
Then we go on our first group ride and notice all the fancy lights, computers and other gadgets. Add those to your wish list.
Now that we have all of this great gear we realize it doesn’t look so good on this starter bike, so now we go shopping for a carbon bike. At this point, we are extreme cyclists.
Amidst all these cool gadgets, what tiny thing have we forgotten? The basics to fix a flat.
I rode this weekend with a couple of experienced cyclists in the middle of nowhere Georgia. We were in a terrific area for cyclists–no cars, no homes, nothing to bother us until someone got a flat. “No problem” you may think, an experienced cyclist knows how to quickly flip the bike over, remove the wheel, take the flat tube out, check inside the tire for something that may have caused the flat, put the new tube in and simply add air. Very simple, right? Simple if you have air.
Unfortunately, this experienced cyclist didn’t have air. Not a huge problem as another rider pulled out their cartridge of air, unfortunately most of the air was gone. Now what?
Fortunately, I had three canisters of air. We filled the tire and finished our terrific ride.
So the takeaway?
Even some of the most experienced riders who have all of the latest gadgets sometimes forget to have the basic essentials. Even for our new riders who may have those essentials, will they know how to fix a flat?
For our experienced riders, make sure before you head out to have a couple spare tubes (perhaps one or two more for longer rides or those that cross into rough terrain), a few cartridges (16g cartridges typically have just enough air to fill most 700c tires with enough air), a valve so you can puncture the cartridge and fill your tube OR a frame pump (for those who don’t want to carry around cartridges all the time).
Want to learn how to fix a flat in no time? Check out this great step-by-step video here