One of the reasons I hear from women for why they don't cycle more is that they're afraid they'll get a flat tyre and don't know how to fix it. If that's you, then read on for some useful info.
What You'll Need
- Pump - a "hand pump" to be precise - something to pump air into your tyres while you're out on your bike. You'll need something small enough that you can attach it to your bike / put it in your jersey pocket / put it in your backpack, but big enough so that pumping up your tyre doesn't take forever. It can be tempting to buy a tiny slim pump because it won't take up much room but when you try to pump up your tyre with it you'll probably get knackered because its about as effective as blowing into the valve. There are some on Wiggle here but you might prefer to go into your local bike shop or Evans Cycles so that you can ask the assistant if you have questions.
- Spare Inner Tube - this sits between your wheel and the tyre - the thing that you pump full of air. You'll need a few of these so you can take one or two with you on each ride. Make sure you get the right size for the wheels on your bike. A mountain bike wheel will need a different size to a road bike wheel, and even some hybrids are different again. You can see the size on the side of the tyre on your wheel. If you're not sure, go to the bike shop either with your wheel size, or with the wheel itself if you can't see the size. They'll be happy to help you get the right size tube. You can get spare inner tubes on Wiggle, at Evans Cycles or your local bike shop too.
- Tyre Levers - these are little plastic sticks with hooks on the end that help you get the tyre off. They come in threes usually. Here are some on wiggle, but you can also get them from most bike shops including Evans Cycles and your local bike shop.
- Puncture Repair Kit - this small kit will help you to mend a hole/rip in your inner tube if you don't have any spare tubes left. As above, you can get them at Wiggle, Evans Cycles or your local bike shop. Try to get one that includes patches, glue, sandpaper, chalk and a crayon. Not all kits have all those things in. Some are just patches and glue.
How To Do It
If you have a spare inner tube with you then follow these instructions to replace the punctured tube. I recommend practicing this at home a few times until you feel happy that you know what to do.
If you don't have a spare with you, or your spare one got punctured as well (doh!) then you'll need to repair the punctured tube.
If All Else Fails
Make sure you take your fully charged phone and some money with you on your bike rides so that if all else fails you can call a taxi or someone you know to come to pick up you and your bike.
Please don't let the fear of a puncture stop you from enjoying bike rides. Life's too short and cycling is so much fun!