What you don’t know can hurt you. If you haven’t ever had a flat tire on your bike while riding, consider this your wake-up call. Over the past two weeks, my training has been somewhat halted because I wasn’t prepared for and knowledgeable about bike maintenance. It all started with a flat tire. I learned how to fix the flat (out of necessity) and what not to do.
Being prepared for a flat tire is important in a race situation where you likely won’t get help from passers-by. Your fellow triathletes are there to get their best time, not to take pity on you for not having the right materials or know-how to fix your own bike.
Make sure you have a patch kit, new tube, pump or CO2 cartridge and tire lever (or two). You can purchase these things and a handy case to go on your bike for around $50.
The best way to learn how to fix a flat is to just do it. But, if you want to read about how to do it, this website is very handy and easy to follow. http://www.jimlangley.net/wrench/flattire.html Ask your local bike shop if they have a free bicycle maintenance class.
When I put in the new tube on my tire and began to pump it up, the tube popped. Luckily I wasn’t far from home. Can you imagine having that happen to you on race day? Learn from my mistakes — how to be prepared for the worst-case scenario and know how to change your own flats.