Getting a flat is pretty darn inconvenient. Don't make it any more so by leaving your flat changing essentials at home. Here is what you need to be able to change a flat anywhere:
- Spare tube. Make sure that it is the right size and valve type for your bicycle. Not all types of holes can be patched, and replacing a punctured tube with a brand new one is simply faster and more practical than patching a tube on the curb. You can patch the old one at home, if it is salvageable.
- Patch kit. Regardless of what I just said, you should carry patches. Occasionally, a brand new tube may leak air, or you may get a second flat because you haven't properly identified the cause of the original puncture.
- Tire levers. These are essential for removing the tire from the rim. Please don't use a screwdriver; it can damage not only the tube, but the tire and rim as well.
- Portable pump suitable for use with the type of valve you have. Usually, the smaller the pump, the longer it will take to fill up the tire, but even a very small pump is better than nothing.
- A wrench, if your bike does not come with quick release wheels. Generally, 14 and 15 mm wrenches are needed loosen nuts on front and rear wheels, but an adjustable wrench will do in a pinch.
- Just in case: cell phone and money.
Carry those whenever you are more than walking distance from home.
Most importantly, practice changing a flat before you leave home. If you come to Rapid Transit to have your flat fixed during non-peak hours, we often have time to show you how it's done. But it is usually not enough to be shown: you have to practice it yourself.
Click here for a step-by -step tube changing tutorial.