Having gone on a few rides recently where people got flat tires, here’s my top three ways to prevent flats

1. Buy the best quality tire you can (I use Continental UltraGator Skin tires – maybe a little more expensive but they last at least 2x longer than any other other tires I’ve used and are nearly puncture-proof). Also, replace the tire when necessary – major holes, cuts require replacement not matter how new the tire is.

2. Always check your tire pressure before a ride.  Always ride on fully inflated tires. (You always do the ABC Quick Check  before a ride, right?)

3. If you do have the misfortune to go through road debris/glass, stop quickly and brush any glass off the tire (with your glove-protected hand) – it helps prevent the glass from getting embedded into the tire and causing a flat.

On one of the Nothing But Us Chicks extra rides, Marjorie got a flat tire. She went through some glass and had a piece of glass that stuck all the way through her front tire so she not only had to replace the tube (I had a spare tube to give her since she didn’t have a tube with her (check out essentials for riding for items your should take on your bike rides), she now needs a new tire on her new bike that she’s only ridden twice! The puncture in the tire was bad enough that we had to boot it with one of my tyvek envelope strips (my preference over dollar bills – stronger and free!)

I’ve had a total of 2 flats in the past 3 years and maybe 3 flats in the previous 20 years on my bike. Considering I’ve ridden over 70,000 miles in the past 20 years, that’s a pretty high miles per flat ratio. When we ride our tandem, we get very few flats which is a good thing. Flats are nearly always on the rear tire and flat tires are more complicated to fix on the rear wheel with a drum brake like what we have on our tandem.

Connie Szabo Schmucker
Advocacy Director
Bicycle Garagey Indy