Sunday, June 15, 2014

What To Take With You On Your Ride?

 One big fear that seemingly every cyclist has is a fear of having a flat and not being able to get back home. When riding in the Memphis area, that fear is a pretty genuine fear. Glass, shards of metal, screws and nails conspire against us to prevent our safe return home.

Avoiding these obstacles is the first tactic to making sure your ride isn't interrupted. I think the most common mistakes people make are: Not looking at the road ahead to ensure that its clear. Second big issue occurs when someone sees a tire eating chunk of glass or metal - They look at the offending chunk and ride straight into it! So how do you avoid these tube and tire lacerators? The answer is easy. When we ride, we naturally tend to ride where we look. So when you spot something that will cut your fancy new tires, look at the 'clean line' around the glass. Spot the problem, look for a clean area to ride through, and you'll do it.

With all those great ideas and methods to use, you will eventually have a flat. It is going to happen. As you log miles, the probability that you will get a tire slashed, punctured or cut get much higher. So what should you carry to make sure you'll get home?

Over the years, the little kit below is what I've worked out to save my backside when the air escapes and leaves me bumping on the rim. The kit is cheap, simple to put together and will fit in a jersey pocket with ease. Forget those terrible saddle bags hanging under your saddle. They're chunky, rattle too much an I've seen more than a few cut through someone's shorts when the Velcro is not adjusted right.

Materials needed:

Tire levers- Get strong, substantial tire levers. Cheap levers leave you stranded and won't handle your new Continental or Vittoria tires without breaking.

Glueless Patches- they are cheap and give you a backup.

C02 Cartridge Threaded- 12 gram cartridges do the job, but 14's give you a little more leeway and don't weigh enough more to be worth worrying about.

C02 Cartridge Filler- I like this version by Innovations. Cheap, light and does the job.

$20- Needing cash on a ride is not an unusual situation. The bonus is that the money can be used as a tire boot when you have a tire with a bad cut.

Innertube- one that fits your bike!

Duct tape- An 8" strip of duct tape holds the whole thing together. It can also be used as a tire boot, to hold a broken cable out of the way, you can even hold tattered bar tape on the bars with it. Endless uses for this.

I arrange the components like this. When you screw the adapter/filler on, don't screw it on all the way. Screwing it on all the way punctures the cartridge and will allow the cartridge to leak out over time. You only screw it on all the way when its time to use it.

Once you have the components arranged, fold the tape over a little to give yourself a handle. Then wrap the whole assembly together tightly with the duct tape and you're done.

Throw this into your jersey pocket, and then you are ready for the inevitable. You might not have the flat, but chances are, someone in your group will. With this little kit, you can save your own ride or even be the hero at the next flat.

Oh yeah, don't forget to bring your cellphone!!!