Have you ever fallen over on your bike while still clipped in? If not, eventually you will(you know you already have). Likewise, you’re also eventually going to get a flat tire. My first flat came about 10yrs ago in my first Oly distance race at Carolina Beach, part of the NCTS. I was just getting into Tri’s and had a hand-me-down Cannodale road bike. I had 700c wheels. Oddly back then, all the Tri bikes had 650c wheels, so the folks offering assistance could only offer a 650c tube. I ended up walking barefoot for about a 1/2 mile before hitching a ride with an elderly couple in their Cadillac on the way to Sunday morning church service.
Lesson Learned: Be prepared. Offer help to others(It was the offer of help from so many others that got me hooked on this sport).
Just like everything else, it gets easier with practice. So I’ll get right to it. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Tire levers
- Spare tube
- CO2 cartridge
- Inflator (With flow control or without)…Get the one with flow control.
Cartridges come in different sizes – 12g, 16g or 25g.
Watch the video here:
Here’s the Step-by-step:
- Deflate the rest of the air out of the tires.
- Take your 1st tire lever and wedge between the rim and the tire.
- Pry the lever back towards the spokes.
- Hook the other end of the lever to the nearest spoke.
- Take the 2nd tire lever and do the same thing on the next spoke.
- At this point you may be able to pry off one side of the tire from around the rest of the rim.
- If not…that’s why there should be 3 tire levers:)
- At this point, you should have a tire that is half on the rim and half off. No need to remove the entire thing(especially during a race).
- Remove the old punctured tube.
- Before adding a new tube, use your fingers to check for any sharp edges inside the tire.
- Blow a bit of air into the tube using your mouth….just enough for the tube to take form.
- Insert the valve stem on the tube through the hole on the rim, working the rest of the tube around the rim and inside the rest of the tire.
- Starting with the area around the stem, start squeezing the tire to get the “half off” side back on the rim. From the stem, work your way in both directions to the opposite side of the tire.
- Eventually you’ll get to the other side. Getting the last 6-8 inches back on the rim can be a challenge. Sometimes it’s cake. Other times(with some race wheels) this can be tough. Hold once side of the last 6 inches in place and use a tire lever on the other side until it pops into place
- Wiggle the tire around a bit to both sides of the rim to make sure that the tube is not poking out the side under the tire.
- I use a CO2 inflator that has flow control, because otherwise you just have one shot to get the air into the tire(unless you have 2 cartridges).
- Inflate the tire until it feels right…again checking to make sure the tire is on evenly.
- Lastly, re-install the wheel to the bike the way you took it off remembering what cog in the back you were using.
** Important **
The CO2 is only good for about 24 hours. Since you are adding compressed CO2 to your tube, the CO2 expands once inside the tube. The CO2 will dissipate/shrink over a period of about 24 hours back to its normal size, so you will need to re-fill with a standard bicycle pump.
See also How to Keep your bike clean.