If you ride a bike, you’ll almost certainly get a puncture at some point (no pun intended). Just a reality of cycling I guess but there are things you can do to minimise this downer (is that another pun?).
Buy puncture resistant tyres. There are quite a few around and the best so far for us are the Gatorskins by Continental. Better than Pasela Panaracer Tourguards, as shown in the above photograph.
- The above photograph is me prising a thorn out of a Pasela Panaracer Tourguard and these aren’t too bad but can be improved. In my view the extra cost is, without doubt, definitely worth it.
- Before you fit the tyres, make sure the rim tape is in good order and protecting the inner tube against any sharp spokes etc.
- When you fit the tyres, have a little talcum powder and spread this onto the inner tube. You only need a little bit for the inner tube to be less sticky, less grippy and easier for the tyre to pop over the rim into place. Don’t use a tyre lever to prise the tyre onto the rim. If you do, the chances are you’ll puncture the inner tube before you have even pumped it up.
- Keep the tyres pumped up to the stated pressure, or at least, close to it. This means MTB tyres at 40 – 60psi and road tyres around 100psi, less for a hybrid. By keeping the tyres at their optimum pressure, there is less scope for bits of grit or thorns getting pressed into the tread. More likely it will be flicked away.
- As you inflate the tyre, make sure it is completely seated and not bulging as this could cause it to blow off the rim. Believe me, it is such a loud bang, you’ll think you’ve just been shot.
On the road
- Be careful of debris on the road: glass, thorns, bits of sharp grit etc. This means choosing the right line on the road to miss anything. Yes I know, easier said than done sometimes. If a farmer has been cutting hedges, use a different road if possible over the next few days.
- You are more likely to pick up a puncture if the roads are wet, presumably debris sticks to the tyre more easily but this is one of the mysteries in the world of cycling
- Check the tyres from time to time, you might be able to prise out a thorn before it causes any problems.
- When riding, avoid curbs, potholes or anything that could cause the tyre/tube to puncture by being pinched against the rim
- You could consider other lines of defense such as investing in a kevlar layer in between the tube and the tyre. I have used these but I’m not convinced they work very well. They also add a little extra weight.. Talking of adding extra weight you can get some ‘orrible slime to squirt inside the tube as a self sealing measure.