A flat tyre doesn’t always have to mean a ruined race. Here’s how to stay calm and fix a puncture at lightning speed.
Punctures are a fact of cycling life, they can and will happen to all of us. On raining rides they are a frustrating inconvenience. In racing they can ruin all your plans and be a real heartbreaker.
There is seemingly no pattern to them either. You can ride flat-free all year and then get two punctures on the same ride.
A flat tyre will cost you time but does not have to ruin your race altogether, and the longer the distance the less impact a puncture will have. If you keep calm and know what you are doing, you will be back in the race sooner than you think. Normally it’s not complicated but with your race head on you may not be so rational, so it’s vital you know what to do. Most of us pick up the skill on training rides, mending punctures by the side of the road, although its easy to practise changing a tube in the garage at home. I would certainly recommend this if you are not confident or have never changed one before.
There are of course, a few things you can do to avoid the dreaded puncture in the first place. Regularly check your tyres for small flints, thorns or glass that have become embedded in the tyre tread and will eventually reach the tube. A lot of punctures are caused by debris that has been in the tyre for some time. Wash your wheels and then inspet the tyre, picking out any small stones etc. Then make sure your tyres are inflated correctly, as the wheel rim can pinch the tube if your tyre pressure is too low.
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