Manage a flat tire in three easy steps

By Kaye Lopez | Photo by Igor Petfiev/Unsplash

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure but if you ride often and long enough, you’re bound to get a flat tire sooner or later. If, despite taking all necessary precautions, you still suffer an unlucky puncture while riding, follow these three easy steps.

1. Feel the Flat

Feel whether the puncture is from the front or the back. Resist the urge to look down when you hear the hissing, but heighten your senses instead because you can tell by the way the bike reacts if it’s in the front (steering effort will increase and handling will be compromised) or the rear (the back of the bike tends to wiggle left and right, and the jarring from the road will increase in frequency the softer the tire becomes).

2. Stop Safely

Avoid braking abruptly so you can maintain balance and control the bike. Braking exaggerates the forces pushing down on the deflating tire and the bead or sidewall may not be able to keep its form around the rim wall. The tire will detach from the rim and you will have an even more difficult time keeping the bike upright.

3. Move to a Safer Place

Lead the bike carefully to a safe place and park out of the way of other riders and vehicles if you’re on a public road.  Remember to always look up and towards where you want to go. You’ll have lots of time to look at which tire went flat or how big the puncture is when you’re standing on your own two feet and the bike is safely parked away from further harm.

If your companion is the one who got a flat, call it out, tell them which tire is flat, and guide them to a safe place. The same steps apply whether you or another person gets a flat.