‘Ppttsssss…’ That’s the sound of air bursting out of your tire, which is usually followed immediately by the sound of you shouting ‘Son of a ‘b%#t&h!’
Flats haven’t ever been a common thing for me – I might even be able to recall each of them, counting them just on my two hands. I remember pinch flatting on a parking block once. I can vividly remember the time I slashed my tire open on shale on the Transrockies, just 1km from a stage finish – other teams breathing down our necks. The memory of me having to walk through downtown Edmonton (full lycra) with my bike, is a fond one… I was even whistled at.
That all being said, I can’t say that flatting is ever really something I consider ‘probable’. Most of the time, at least in the past, I was riding MTB, with tubless tires and Stans No Tubes sealant. From my experience, this set up is essentially bomb-proof. Lately however, I’ve been spending a lot more time on the road, and on my CX bike, which I just run standard tubes on. Knowing this makes flatting a more predictable scenario, I’ve been carrying my repair kit with me, including patches, tire levers, a pump and even an extra tube (I will openly admit that I don’t carry any of this on my MTB rides). But, as misfortune would have it, just this past weekend, none of my flat repair gear measured up to the 1 1/2 inch gash I took on my front tire from a broken Mike’s Hard Lemonade bottle… My tire, and tube were toast! Fortunately for me, I was only a 15min stroll back to the Devon (AKA Bike Town) Tim Hortons, where I could wait for a pick up. Glad it didn’t happen in the middle of nowhere.
I know the slashed tire and tube is a very rare circumstance, but even still, it was an exceedingly lame one – one that I am in no hurry to repeat. So, the question I put to you is, as a roadie out on your training rides, do you carry an extra tire, or do you just risk it?
Further to this, do you carry AMA Roadside Bicycle Assistance? I just learned about it. If you are an AMA member like me, you can add this unique benefit on to your membership policy.