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The one skill that can save a bike ride gone flat.

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A flat tire can bring an epic ride to a screeching halt. Knowing how to change a flat tire can salvage your ride and keep you rolling.

Luckily, fixing a flat is easier than you may realize! Here’s what you’ll need to carry with you on your ride:

  • a pump that matches your tire valve
  • a spare tube that’s the appropriate size for your bike
  • a patch kit
  • tire levers to remove the tire from the rim

You can pick up all of these items at your local bike shop. Even if you don’t yet know how to fix a flat, by having these tools with you you’ll be prepared and equipped for a more experienced rider to be able to help. Here is a guide to get you started:

Bike Pack

Bike packs come in many shapes and sizes. They attach to your bike’s seat, handlebars or frame and let you carry the essentials without getting in your way. The size and placement of your pack is up to you and depends on how much you plan to bring along for the ride. At a minimum, it should fit the items below plus a small plastic bag with your ID, cell phone and a small amount of cash or a credit card in case of emergencies.

Hand Pump

A hand pump typically attaches to your bike frame and allows you to inflate your tires by hand when you’re out riding. Be sure that the opening on your pump matches the valve on your tubes.

Patch Kit

A patch kit has coverings and sealant to repair small punctures and tears in your tubes that can cause a flat. This is especially important if you don’t have an extra tube and need to keep riding. A patch can seal the opening and prevent a second flat on the same ride.

Tire Levers

These small levers get between the rim of your wheel and the tire to remove the tire and get to the tube underneath. Talk to your local bike shop about the best levers for your tires.

Spare Tube

A tube sits underneath your tire in the groove of your wheel and is the part that is inflated when you pump up your tires. Make sure your tube is the appropriate size and style for your wheel and tire, and that the valve matches your pump.

Here’s a handy video on how to change a flat bike tire.

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