How Not to Change a Flat on Your Bike

Distance: 36.5 miles
Time: 1:58:09
Average Watts: 178 watts
Normative Power: 193 watts
Average Heart Rate: 151 bpm
Total Work: 1,261 kJ
Average Speed: 18.6 mph

This was supposed to be a 40 mile ride, but goodness, I had a flat. Then I punctured the tube when I was changing it out. I will get to that story in a minute.

This ride had a lot of climbing in it. I took my route out towards a town called Cedar Fort. This is a route I love. There is one section with a three mile climb that is probably about a 3.0% sustained climb and you really have to push your pace if you want to keep your average speed up for the entire ride. Through that section I averaged 235 watts. It isn’t much for some people, but it was a really good effort for me this early in the season.

How Not to Change a Flat

So at mile 35 I passed these two gals and made sure I was friendly — I always try to be friendly to people on a ride. I turned a corner and hit a rock that I thought was pretty small and about 100 yards later I heard the tale tell “pssst” that you hate almost as much as a horn from an 18 wheeler. I pulled over and the two gals pulled over to offer to help and I passed on their offer because I had a tube. I should have asked them to stay and hang out for a minute. You will understand why in a minute.

When I change a tire I only pull one bead off and leave one on to make the change faster, I was cruising through the change and put my tube inside the tire, started putting the second bead on the rim, and got my CO2 cartridge all put together. I inflated my tire and all I could hear was air escaping. Hmm…must be a loose valve. I reinflated the tube and this time it was a “pssst”…I thought to myself, “glad I have a SAG crew to call to come pick me up. I got a snake bike right by the valve. My tube was screwed.

So what did I do wrong? When I was putting my tube back onto the wheel, apparently I pinched the tube too much with the tire lever. You have to be careful when you are changing your tube, especially when you only carry one. I let my goal of speed allow me to slip up on my protocol that I usually follow, especially when changing a flat. You can’t allow this to happen because when you are carrying one tube, you only get one chance. The SAG wagon showed up and I didn’t have to do the “Walk of Shame“. Changing a flat on a bike isn’t tough, you just need to take your time…

Hopefully this is the only flat of the season.

About the Author

I have been participating in running and triathlons for 10 years and love the feeling that training provides. You may not agree with me, but you know you just can't look away...