How to Avoid a Flat

Riding your bike through Portland can be a bit like a game of Mario Cart, something is always going to be thrown your way. Bits and pieces of glass, rusty old nails, bits of wire, the mystery thumbtack, so on and so forth. You can try to ride like a maniac swerving in and out of it all but chances are, the moment you aren’t looking and are least prepared, it will happen to you.

The best thing you can do is learn how to avoid a flat to begin with.

1. Keep your tires pumped up.

It should tell you how much to pump your tire up on the side. If you haven’t ridden your bike in a while you will want to check before you take it out for a ride. It’s normal for tires to lose air if they have been sitting for a long time.

2. Inspect the tire for visible road crud before riding.

If there is anything stuck in your tire like a nail or a piece of glass, remove it if you can do so safely. This can prevent the object from getting wedged in further and causing problems.

The two most common types of flats that we see are puncture flats and pinch flats. Puncture flats, mentioned above, may be quick-fixed if you carry a patch kit with you on your bike. We do not recommend using a slime tube as a quick-fix. If you are experiencing more than your fair share of flats you may want to consider picking up new tires.

Puncture resistant tires, which will put you out a bit more money, will be worth it in the long run. If you’re not sure what tires would be best for the kind of riding you do, tell us what kind or riding you do and if you’ve been experiencing any problems with the tires you’ve been using and we can help you pick out something new.

Pinch flats can happen when you don’t have enough air in your tires and the tire gets pinched into the rim. This type of flat is easier to avoid because keeping your tires pumped up should fend them off.

If you don’t know how to change your tire, we’ll be doing a video on it in the near future. If you do know how to change your tire, it’s beneficial to carry the tools with you whenever you head out on a ride. You never know when you’ll need them!

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