For many women, getting a flat tire is one of their greatest fears of road riding. Seems unbelievable, doesn’t it? But it seems the shock of getting a flat elicits the fight or flight response every time. There’s something about the sudden hiss of escaping air and the rapid loss of speed – and sometimes control – that comes with a flat tire.
So, to overcome the fear of the inevitable, there’s no question that you should take the time to practice changing a flat tire. Years ago, when I first started cycling, my boyfriend (now hubby) let the air out of both my tires, handed me 2 tubes and said “go for it”. I can still remember the feeling of exasperation! “What have you done?!” But once I overcame the initial panic, I got started. Thankfully, I had the tools I needed and an expert close at hand. In no time, my bike was fixed and ready to go. Do yourself a favour and practice changing a flat on your OWN terms so that when the unexpected happens – and it will – you will be ready.
Once you’ve mastered the art of the tire change, you may never need to change a flat again – life just seems to work that way. But if you do, you’ll be ready! There’s some serious sense of empowerment in that, so get on it!
For those of you who will continue to put it off – kind of like the 72 hour emergency water supply you should have in your house – you have 2 options. First, you can rely on others to help you out. Just realize that playing the “helpless card” wears thin after a while, no matter how great you look in those shorts!
The other option is to get yourself some armour-plated tires. This may sound far-fetched, but there’s a tire I’d like you to try – the Specialized Roubaix Armadillo Elite. It’s bomb proof! Dave, owner of Corsa Cycles in Squamish, has been doing some field-testing down in California and 1500 km later he has not had one flat, despite seeking out patches of broken glass! In addition to being puncture resistant, this tire has a 25c casing (a little wider) for greater traction in the corners and a 23c tread (a little narrower) for low rolling resistance. It’s the perfect all-round tire for someone who wants to ride fast, corner safely and avoid flat tires.
So now you have everything you need to kick this flat tire phobia. Upgrade your tires, get the tools you need to change a flat, and practice getting your hands dirty! You can do it!