Punctures are annoying, we all know that. However, they happen – and the best we can do is try to limit the frequency.
What is of course incredibly annoying, is having two punctures in quick succession. Thankfully, this is probably avoidable. Here’s a look at why this might happen:
You’ve been really unlucky
This is a possibility. Perhaps you were rolling past a newly cut hedge, or a glass bottle has been scattered across the road. In this case, it’s worth always carrying one (some say two) spare tubes, as well as a patch kit – this enables you to repair numerous punctures if you really have to.
The cause is still in the tyre
This is probably the most common cause. When at university (in the days I rode an old MTB with brakes that ‘didn’t work’, Read: I didn’t know I had to replace the brake pads after the bike living in the garage for 10 years…) I went through a spate of repeated punctures. Finally, reaching my limit, I took the bike to a LBS where the mechanic took the tyre off, and picked out about 5 rose bush thorns.
Your puncture has been caused by something – and it’s likely to be a small sharp object – flint, thorn, glass…
Whenever you replace a tube or patch it following a flat, you should always pump the old tube, find the hole, and work out where it is in relation to the tyre (hence keeping the writing on your tyre above the valve – not just a bit of roady snobbery) – this will take you to the location of the nasty sharp object.
In some cases, you may never find it, but you should always check. Finally, before replacing the tyre, look along the entire inside and outside stretch of rubber. It will take an extra couple of minutes, but not as long as it will take to re-play the entire experience 10 seconds down the road.
You’ve pinched or damaged the tube
Tyre levers are useful – but do be careful. It’s very easy to nick a brand new or patched inner tube with the edge of a tyre lever – causing damage that means the tube will never inflate.
The other possibility is that the tube has become pinched or twisted inside the tyre. To prevent this, always put a small amount of air in the tube BEFORE you put it back in the tyre – this will help it to keep its shape, reducing the likelihood of this sort of tube damage.
In addition, you should always run your hands around the edge of the tyre once it’s been replaced on the rim, wiggle the tyre side to side, and peer at the gap between rim and tyre wall – you shouldn’t see any tube – if you do – you need to carefully push it on or start again. If you don’t –the tube will protrude, meaning you’ll either get an odd shaped wheel, or it’ll pop straight away.
The tyre needs replacing
Finally, it could just be that your inner tube is vulnerable because your tyres have ‘had it’. Tyres are a consumable item – I usually replace mine 2-3 time a year, but it depends how much and how far you ride, and on what sort of terrain. Take a look at our recommendations for the best puncture proof tyres.
If you are concerned about this – look for cracks in the rubber, or holes that actually go all the way through it, so you can see the tube (or your finger, if you run your hand along the inside).
Tyres admittedly aren’t that cheap, but it’s a small price to pay to prevent you from spending half your riding time stood beside the road..
We hope that helped! Have you got any other tips?
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.