Back to Basics: Changing a flat mid-ride

flat tire

This past weekend, I experienced my first flag in awhile. My cyclocross tires are usually pretty strong and resilient, but 9W was strewn with debris and I did see a ton of people repairing flats on the way up to Nyack, NY. This post is going to be geared towards some of the newer cyclists reading my blog. Many of us are well-seasoned in changing flats and can just about do it with our eyes closed. That said, I thought it would be beneficial to bring up another tutorial for bike essentials. We’ll start out talking about what you’ll need to bring with you on the ride, the steps to change a flat, inspecting the tire/tube/rim for puncture points, and getting rolling!


What to bring?


Essentials Case


Seat Post Bag


You’ll often hear the term, “essentials case” being thrown around in the roadie community. It’s exactly that, a small zippered pouch that fits your essentials, a.k.a what you would use in case of a flat tire. Others prefer to have a dedicated seat postĀ bag. It really comes down to your personal preference (in your jersey pocket or on your bike).


So, within the case or within your seat post bag, here’s what I typically recommend carrying:

2 Tire Levers

1 Spare Inner Tube ( 2 if you have room / feel the need to)

1 Co2 cartridge/adapter ( or a frame mounted pump)

1 Patch KitĀ ( these take up very little space)

$10 Spare Cash ( credit card as well)

I.D and Health Insurance Card


Frame Mounted Pump vs Co2 Cartridge


One thing to note about the frame mounted pump – if you’re running 23-25mm road tires, it’s going to be pretty tough to hand pump up to 110+ PSI, trust me on that. Co2 is great, unbelievably easy to use. Although, the trade off there is that Co2 escapes rubber at a quicker rate than air molecules, so you will want to pump up your tires normally as soon as you get the chance.


Video Tutorial

Now, I thought about doing a step-by-step video/picture series, but the lighting in our apartment isn’t optimal and to be fair, GCN has a fantastic video tutorial (the one I first used to learn how to change a flat):


Hope that helps! Remember, practice makes perfect – definitely practice taking your tires / inner tubes off while you’re in your home. Changing it out on the road may not be as comfortable or convenient, but once you have the technique down, you’ll be able to easily change a flat out on the road in less than 10 minutes!

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