How to Prevent a Flat Tire on a Bicycle

How to Prevent a Flat Tire on a Bicycle
A flat tire can ruin a day of biking. It can also be dangerous, depending upon the circumstances. While you're not likely to totally avoid flat tires, you can perform a couple of simple measures to help protect against flat tires and ensure that your tires only go flat due to circumstances out of your control.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Use heavy-duty, puncture-resistant tubes, particularly if you bike around a lot of thorny plants or other possible puncture-inducing obstacles. While you'll pay a couple of bucks more at the store, the extra protection will be worth the money.
Step 2
Inflate your tires properly. Inflating can seem like a chore, but it really only takes a few minutes. Refer to your tire sidewall for the appropriate tire pressure and check the tires before each ride. Pump them to pressure if they're low. Low tire pressure can cause pinch flats in which the tube becomes pinched between the tire and rim.
Step 3
Be thorough when changing your tire. Inspect the top of the rim closely to be sure that the rim strip is intact. If not, replace it. Also carefully inspect the tire for any damage or jagged fragments stuck inside. When putting the tire back on, pump it up about half way, then rotate the wheel around to be sure that the tire beads are fully and evenly seated in the rim and don't pose a risk of blowing off.
Step 4
Use tire liners. These liners fit between the tube and tire and serve as an extra protection from punctures and pinch flats. Alternately, get a pair of puncture-proof tires, which offer more rigid protection against objects penetrating through to the tube.
Step 5
Keep your bike maintained. Inspect your tires for signs of damage and wear such as cracks and uneven, worn down knobs and purchase a new pair of tires before they fully wear out. Get your bike tuned regularly and check for issues like rubbing break pads or untrue wheels. Repair these types of problems immediately.
Step 6
Use tire sealant for tubes with Schrader valves. The sealant goes inside the tube and is meant to fill in small holes should you get a puncture, sealing the tube so that it doesn't go flat. You can also purchase tubes with sealant already installed to save work and mess.
Step 7
Temper your riding style. More aggressive riding is likely to result in more flat tires. Carefully scan the area ahead and avoid jagged obstacles that could potentially rip up your tires. Watch for things like pot holes and broken glass and avoid unnecessarily rolling over large or sharp obstacles.

Article Written By Joe Fletcher

Joe Fletcher has been a writer since 2002, starting his career in politics and legislation. He has written travel and outdoor recreation articles for a variety of print and online publications, including "Rocky Mountain Magazine" and "Bomb Snow." He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Rutgers College.

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