It happens to everyone your bike has a flat tire. It can be a pain in the butt at best, a leisurely ride is cut short or doesn’t happen. At worst, you’re late for work, or a meeting, or school, and you’re in the middle of nowhere. You can’t avoid them all, but there are things you can do to minimize flat tires. Visit https://www.foldingbikezone.com/retrospec-bicycles/
The simplest, cheapest way to keep your tires from going flat is inflating them to the proper pressure regularly. We recommend doing it before every ride, or weekly at the very least. Filling tires correctly requires a pump with an air pressure gauge – if you don’t have one, they’re normally $20ish and up for a floor pump, a bit cheaper for a frame pump. A lot of people don’t know this, but several PSI air loss per week is completely normal. A normal bicycle tube will lose about 15 psi per month – which is why a lot of people think they’ve got an air leak and need new tubes if their bike is stored over the winter months. A normal mountain bike tire is recommended to have 40-65 psi, so it could flat entirely in 3-4 months. Riding on low tires can not only ruin your tubes, but your tires as well. Too low a PSI, and your tires’ sidewalls will begin to crack prematurely. If the PSI is low enough, your tubes will get pinch flats. Keep your bike’s tubes inflated properly, and you have the best chance of staying flat-free.
External factors are also to blame for many flat tires. Thorns, pieces of glass, staples, you name it – they’re hard to avoid on a bike ride. There are, however, types of tubes meant to keep the air in longer after a puncture. Slime tubes work to seal the puncture with a liquid that lives inside the tube. They are heavier than a regular tube, and hard to inflate without making a mess, but the tradeoff is worth it for many people. The other option is tire liners – heavy plastic that sits between the tire and the tube and guards against sharp objects. They may not stop every puncture, but they do a great job, and at around $10 for a bike’s worth they’re an inexpensive way to cut down on flat tires. They’re doubly worth it in rear wheels of tough to fix bikes – three speeds, internally geared hubs, bicycles with coaster brakes, recumbents, tandems – any bike that’s heavy or has a difficult to remove rear wheel can benefit greatly from tire liners.
Another factor to consider is tire width. Ideally, you should match your tire with the kind of terrain you plan to ride most. In many, cases a fatter tire is the way to go. For example, simply swapping your thin 23mm road bike tires to 28mm tires can make a huge difference. Thin 23mm tires are nice and zippy, but for a commuting situation 28mm or even wider tires are you best option for staying flat free. You will need to make sure your bike’s frame and fork can handle the wider tire before making a purchase, but obviously we can help you with that. The final thing to consider is the puncture protection offered by various tire makes and models. Some tires are belted with Kevlar, while some simply have a thicker layer of rubber underneath the tread. Many less expensive tires don’t offer as much protection.
Finally, we recommend that everyone take along a frame pump and patch kit (or new tube) on rides. You can’t stay flat-free forever, so preparation can make the difference between walking and riding!