Punctures are like a shadow, they cannot really completely be avoided! But having said that, the risk of having a flat can definitely be minimized if you follow these simple tips.
TOP 5 WAYS TO PREVENT A PUNCTURE
1. PUMP UP YOUR TIRES
Incorrect tire pressures are a major reason for punctures. Make it a habit to regularly check your tire pressure before heading out for a ride, especially long rides. Tire pressures are normally mentioned on the sidewall of the tire in PSI units and have both an upper and a lower limit.
Optimal tire pressure depends on your riding conditions! Lower tire pressure under wet conditions enables higher traction. Just a few PSI reduced from your tires can magically transform your ride. A heavier rider would need a higher tire pressure to ensure no pinch flats. Play around with tire pressures to understand How this can impact your ride.
2. BE ALERT ON THE ROAD
Roads are filled with potholes, stones, and various other hazardous substances, riding over which would cause a puncture. All of it can be avoided by being alert while riding on the road. When on a group ride, alert the rider behind about the upcoming hazard by giving them an appropriate signal. Prevent riding towards the absolute left edge of the road. In India especially, sharp stones and metal pieces are swept to the roadsides and could cause issues if you ride thru them. In case you see broken glass, slow down and avoid riding thru the broken pieces.
3. HIGH QUALITY TIRES
Well reputed tires are as important as having good quality shoes for running. A lot of tires come with in-built puncture protection. Many high-quality tires also have proprietary compounds that not only make the tire light but also grip well and ensure your ride is safe. Some tires also have inbuilt reflectivity to ensure additional safety while you’re riding. Good quality tires also last longer.
4. PERFORM REGULAR CHECKS
Perform a thorough weekly check up on your tires. Ensure there are no cuts or cracks on the tire which would expose the inner tube and lead to punctures.
A simple check is sufficient, taking a look to see if there’s anything lodged in the tire, or running your fingers lightly over the rubber, ensuring you remove any objects that are lodged in. Try doing this immediately after you finish a ride so that you know you’ve checked before you start your next ride and aren’t short on time.
5. CHOOSE YOUR TIRES CAREFULLY
This is a very important tip. Very often riders opt for the cheapest possible tires for their bikes. What you must know is that every tire has its own intended purpose. This doesn’t mean that you need to purchase the most expensive, lightest tires on the market. In fact that’s another mistake riders often make. A more expensive or cheap tire doesn’t translate into a more puncture resistant tire.
The key is finding the right tire for the job at hand. For training and casual rides we’d recommend a tire that offers an all-round combination of speed, weight, grip and puncture protection, without sacrificing too much in any one area.
OTHER THINGS TO LOOK FOR
Other things that could cause a puncture are – not using a rim tape, faulty installation of tubes/tires, improper handling of the valve while pumping the air and many more things can also be responsible for the cause of flat.
Tires are one of the most important components of your bicycle. It’s the only part of the bicycle that’s constantly in contact with the ground and can either make your ride enjoyable and safe or sluggish and puncture prone. It’s interesting that the founder of Specialized Bicycle Components, one of the biggest cycling brands in the world today, started his company by creating a tire as he believed that this was the most important part of the bicycle that would allow him to ride longer and harder.
A well-maintained tire offers longer durability and minimizes the risk of causing flat, by following these few tips one can avoid these frustrating events and enjoy the awesomeness of the cycling.
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WHAT I LOVE ABOUT CYCLING
I never stopped riding my bike! It all started with me cycling to school. It then became my tool of choice to stay fit, which seeded my passion for long distance cycling. I love the simplicity of cycling as it makes you an integral part of the elements (Rain, Cold, Heat, Climbs, Descends) which in turn makes you value every pedal stroke!
Working as a Bike Specialist allows me to spend my entire day with bicycles and working with other like-minded people.
CURRENT BIKE(S): Scott Aspect 670 & Specialized Allez
DREAM BIKE: S-Works Tarmac
OTHER PASSIONS: Running, Photography, Travelling