There’s a lot you can do to avoid punctures, including proper maintenance:
- Worn tyres puncture more easily. Replace them well before the legal minimum tread depth of 1.5mm
- Check both tyres for embedded nails, sharp stones or glass before every ride
- If a nail has penetrated the tyre but it hasn’t deflated, don’t pull it out. Cut the head off with wire snips flush with the tyre surface and get it straight to the tyre shop for repair or replacement.
How you ride can help avoid punctures too:
- Don’t ride over the debris that collects at road verges and intersections.
- Steer clear of any broken glass, isolated stones and other hard objects
- In left hand bends, stay out from the shoulder (stones and debris tend to find their way there).
Dealing with punctures
You could rely on your roadside assistance policy or flashing your credit card. But being able to fix a puncture at the side of the road is cheaper and will often have you on your way to the next tyre depot far faster.
Tubeless tyre repair kits usually don't require wheel removal and even include compressed air bottles.
However, if the tyre has come unstuck from the rim, a roadside repair is unrealistic. You need serious air pressure to re-seal it.
You have to remove the wheel and tyre to patch the tube. You’ll need the proper tools, including tyre levers (screwdrivers, kitchen knives etc will almost always damage the tyre).
Even with a centre-stand, removing wheels can be a challenge at the roadside. For example, you might need to prop up the front of the bike to get the front wheel off the ground.
If you’re not worried about the bike’s appearance, you can lay the bike on its side. Then it’s down to work on the rim:
- The part of the tyre near the valve should be last off the rim, and first on, to avoid pinching
- Some air should be pumped into the tube before the tyre is re-fitted (to give it a little shape)
- Get it to a professional tyre fitter ASAP to plug it from the inside and fit a new tube.