Getting punctures is often a big discouragement for people taking up cycling. Unfortunately, punctures are a fact of life for cyclists, but there are steps you can take to help reduce the risk of a flat.
How can you best ensure that you don’t spend time by the side of the road when you should be riding on it? Here are six tips to help you stay flat-free.
Bike punctures are more likely if you don’t have the right type of tyre
A lot of the time, bike punctures can come down to tyre selection. It’s a lot like selecting a tyre for your car really.
If you buy a road bike / hybrid bike, there are some excellent tyres, which have very strong puncture resistance. This is the best investment and upgrade you can make to any bike. Unless you are racing, don’t worry about the extra weight. You won’t really notice it for a commute into town, but you will appreciate the reduction in punctures.
Try to avoid riding over glass on the road to avoid punctures
This is probably the number one tip and a fairly obvious one but it’s amazing how many cyclists ride over glass. When you see glass on the road try to go around it not through it. When riding in bunches its up to the front rider to point out, call and ride around glass. When you are riding in a bunch avoid serving around when avoiding glass or you’ll cause an accident.
Check your tyres regularly
This is a simple tip, but easily forgotten in the rush to meet your mates for that 9am start, or to ignore because you think ‘I’ll be alright this time’.
Just because you didn’t have a puncture the last time you rode your bike, that doesn’t mean sharp objects like flint and glass haven’t lodged their way into the tyre, waiting to be pushed through to the inner tube by the rolling pressure of you riding your bike.
Put on the tyre properly – avoid pinch punctures
The biggest cause of ‘repeat punctures’ is putting on a tyre with tyre leavers. This invariably causes a pinching of the inner tube between rim and tyre. To avoid this, it is important to always put a tyre back on with your hands.
Ensure you have your tyres correctly inflated
If you underinflated your tyres you run the risk of pinching your inner tube when you go over a pothole causing a puncher. Alternatively, over inflation will cause a massive blowout failure. Usually you should run your 700 x 23c tyres at 100 psi and your 700 x 25 tyres at 80psi.
Avoid riding in the rain
People often find that riding in the rain causes an increased chance of puncture. This may be due to the fact that the water reduces friction and makes it easier for grit to penetrate the tyre. We guess that nobody would choose to ride in the rain unless they can avoid it. But, be prepared for higher risk of puncture if it is wet.