A couple weeks ago I got my first flat tire of the season. I had an experience with a car flat where I re-inflated the tire and it was fine so I thought to do the same on my bike. After re-inflating my bike tire I rode into the city and back with no problems.
The next morning however, the tire was flat. Figuring I had a slow leaking flat, I decided to ignore it. That was mistake #1. Gradually over the course of a week my slow leaking presta tube became a faster leaking tube.
Now that I had a real flat, I had to patch the tube. Changing a flat is one of the simplest things to learn in bike maintenance and was something I had done a few times before. If you are looking for step by step instructions check out Bicycle Tutor. For this particular flat I used a Park Tools super patch kit because it was cheap at $5 and super portable.
After patching the tube, I was putting the tire back on the wheel but noticed it was being a bit fussy. Instead of sticking with it and just using my hands, I decided to use my bike tire levers to get the tire back on the wheel. That was mistake #2. While re-inflating the tire my tube exploded! Turns out I had a pinch between the wheel from using the tire levers.
Mistake #3. One new tube and another change later, I had a working tire once again and yet two days later I got another flat! I had forgotten to inspect my tire for glass or other point bits. Turns out I had quite a few pieces glass lodged in my tire.
Mistake #4. Lastly, I failed to realize that my tires were about threes years old and under constant use. The shards of glass that had lodged in my tires made my tires more prone to glass and stones. I got yet another flat before I decided to buy my new Schwalbe Marathon tires.
My mistakes hopefully won’t be yours…
1. Don’t ignore a flat even if it seems to be slow leaking.
2. Don’t shortcut the flat tire changing process. You might have an improperly patched tube or worse your tube might explode on you.
3. Check your tire for sharp objects before you replace or patch your tube.
4. If you treads are worn and you are getting multiple flats in a row, it might be time for new tire.