Flat Tire At The Workplace


Well-Known Member
May 3, 2015
I finished work for the day and headed to my bicycle, which is in the employee parking garage, just inside the garage entrance. I get the bike into the exit ramp and go approximately 4 feet and suddenly the front tire goes flat.

It took me 4 hours to fix that flat tire. All of it thanks to my inexperience and lack of preparation.

I do carry tire levers, spare tubes, and a carbon dioxide inflator in my bag. I get the front wheel off the bike, and start using the tire levers to get the tire off the wheel. Eventually, I succeed. Then I remove the tube. I tuck a new tube in the tire, and after much fumbling and use of the levers, get the tire back onto the wheel. I felt ready to inflate the tire with carbon dioxide.

My inflation device is very old, something like 10 years, and I've never used it before. I play with it a little bit, trying to get gas to squirt out of the cartridge. Well, apparently, the cartridge is empty. I have one spare cartridge, also quite old. I unscrew the old, spent cartridge and screw on the spare. All the gas starts blasting out of the cartridge! The cartridge frosts over, and I drop it before my bare fingers freeze to it.

Now I had no way to inflate my tire.

I locked the bike and the flat tire up and have a word with the security guards. Then I took the bus home. Waiting for the bus plus the bus ride itself takes over an hour.

Once home, I hop in my car and go to my local bike shop and buy a new carbon dioxide inflator plus spare cartridges. Traffic congestion is horrible at that hour. It takes a long time to inch my car to the shop, and then head back to my office complex. It is also quite dark -- long after sunset when I arrive.

I load the bike inside my car. Thank you for telling me about that some weeks ago, CampyBob. The fit is very tight in my back seat, but yes, the bike fits in there. I bring it home and get everything inside.

At last, I can sit down in reasonable comfort with the front wheel, the new carbon dioxide inflator, and the sheet of directions showing how to use the inflator. It is very fiddly, but eventually gas starts flowing into my tube. I only inflate it a little, and inspect the tire bead. It seems to be tucked into the wheel okay. I then put the wheel back on the bike, and get my floor pump, and pump up the tire to full normal pressure by hand.

I test-rode the bike yesterday and it seems just fine now.

However, I'm going to replace both the tires since they have a lot of miles on them by now. And the tire tread felt really thin to my fingers when I was feeling it for whatever had popped the old innertube. I'm also going to get more tire levers and still more carbon dioxide cartridges.

So now I'm still a newbie and I've fixed my first flat tire. I congratulate myself for finally learning how.


FWIW. You may want to consider a set of urethane tires for your commuter ...

The bead-to-bead dimension is fairly critical as far as fitting the tires ...

It is a METRIC dimension ...

If the rim has a decal on it, it often has the rim's size indicated on it ...

A MAVIC Open Pro (for example) is dimensionally 622-15 ...

So, the particular rim's bead-to-bead dimension is '15' millimeters.
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Thanks, alfeng! I saw a video posted by AmeriTyre on their polyurethane tires. I am concerned about the added weight of the tire. I will look more into it. Thank you for telling me about this type of tire.

Urethane tire? Yuck - don't jump to the nuclear option just yet.

A little preparation goes a long way. Hindsight is 20/20, but you should have practiced changing a flat before you needed to do it in the field. With experience and the right tools, changing a tube is a 5 minute job.

What kind of tires are on your commuter? A resillient tire with a thick tread is very resistant to punctures. I have yet to get a flat on my cross bike with randonneuring tires (summer) and studded ice tires (winter). I had mixed success with road tires claiming to reduce punctures.

Another option is thick / thorn resistant tubes. I've used them in my road tires and they do reduce the instance of punctures, but I like to ride fast on my roadies and they don't roll quite as nicely.

There are also tubeless options. Right now I am experimenting with ghetto tubeless on an old road wheel I have. I had my doubts about the sealant, but it does work and seals pretty good size punctures up to ~80psi. I have a friend who rides with proper UST tires and he rides his tires until they are worn out. The sealant takes care of all the small punctures. I doubt that I will ever go to a full tubless setup on a road bike, probably on my new Fat Tire. For the roadie, I think I am going to try putting sealant in my tubes before I have to patch a punctured one.
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Hi Maydog, I have Michelin Lithion tires which is what the bike (A 2009 Giant FCR Alliance) came with as original equipment. It is time to replace them. In another thread I mentioned wanting to replace with Continental Gatorskins. In fact, tonight is a window of opportunity to do that, I think I can get to my local bike shop. I have not noticed they have a stock of Gatorskins. They seem to have Kenda tire models. In my locality, most of the roads are in very poor condition.

Thanks for the mention of studded tires. Maybe I should consider these if I go riding in snow conditions. I have a goal of trying to bicycle commute for the entire year.

My big goal is to bicycle in situations where I would normally drive my car.

I totally agree that I need to practice changing tubes and improve my flat-fixing equipment.


Gatorskins are a slick road race type of tire.

For commuting year round, you want something that rolls decent but also has a thicker tread than a purely road tire. These tires go by many different names: cross, randonneur, city, trekking and gravel are just a few. The additional tread increases the effective distance between road surface and the tube helping to reduce flats and helps with traction in sand, snow, mud etc.

I believe the FCR can accomidate up to 32c tires. A larger tire allows a lower pressure to be ridden for a larger contact patch - good for snow, ice and reducing the likelihood of punctures.
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I can relate to your story, as I spent a similar amount of time fixing my first flat.

My SO usually fixes my bike when I have a flat or anything, really. But he recently started a job that keeps him out of the city for 7 days and in one of my lonely commutes to work I had a flat. I had no idea how to fix it, and had nowhere near to get a new tube or patches. A coworker graciously took me & my bike home on his pick up truck after work and then I spent the next few hours watching Youtube tutorials and struggling to get my tube out.

Fortunately next day was Saturday so I spent most of the morning trying to get my bike into working condition. I have a gas station close to home so I went there to fully inflate my new tube.

I think that, in total, I spent close to 6 hours trying to fix a flat. It takes my SO 5 min to do the same task :v Oh well, I hope that next time it won't take that much! (and I also learned to *always* carry a spare tube, levers and a pump in my panniers)

I want to switch to Kenda Kwick Trax tires which I've heard are good for the city and puncture resistant, but the only LBS that carries Kenda takes so long to get them ugh (been waiting for more than 15 days).
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Thank you both maydog and kuroba! I'm starting to understand tires a little better. Perhaps Gatorskins are not right for me. Kuroba, I am going to see if Kenda Kwick Trax tires will fit my wheels. I'm quite open to suggestions. My local bike shop does carry Kenda and if I have to special order, perhaps they will be prompt about it.

That's a sad occasion, a flat tire when you are about to leave for home. And taking you hours, well, that's an icing to the cake. I don't bike to work and I had never tried riding in our office area due to the usual heavy traffic. But when that experience would happen to me, perhaps I would just walk to the nearest vulcanizing shop and have them do my flat tire. I have several flat tire kits given to me as gifts but I had never used them. When I get a flat, it's either I take off the tire and bring it or carry the bike along as I walk.
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Wouldn't have happened if you had a pump. There is a reason I ditched the CO2. You get a third fourth.....chance with a pump.

I used CO2 at one time but after the experience of getting an empty one, one freezing my stem snapping it off the tube in 100 degree weather I started carrying a little pump for the repair portion. Later I just lost the cartridges.

I have a little $5 Blackburn pump I bought on a clearance table for $5. It gets my tires up to 80 psi and is about 5 inches long. That is enough to get me anywhere anytime.

I now ride with a pump at all times. I have had several experienced riders who swear by CO2 ask to borrow it on centuries after getting jacked by cartridges. :lol:
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Mr. Beanz said:
Wouldn't have happened if you had a pump. There is a reason I ditched the CO2. You get a third fourth.....chance with a pump.
Indeed, I use a pump too. CO2 sounds convenient but it's not cheap or foolproof.
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BobCochran said:
Thanks, alfeng! I saw a video posted by AmeriTyre on their polyurethane tires. I am concerned about the added weight of the tire. I will look more into it. Thank you for telling me about this type of tire.

With the understanding that I could be wrong ...

Let me suggest that the weight difference (and, the airless tires do seem porky compared with a racing tire/tube combination) is less significant for Flatlanders ...

And, while there IS a real mechanical disadvantage to a heavier tire/tube combination when climbing on mountain roads, it may be more-psychological-than-not for shorter climbs (a couple of hundred yards or less IF you aren't bonked) for people riding in most normal terrain ...

And, on the Flats, once you are up to speed, there is a flywheel effect.

ONE thing you can do AFTER you compare the raw weights of a heavy duty tire + (heavy thorn proof?) tube + (?) slime-type compound is to ADD some temporary weight to your rear wheel by adding a lot of masking tape (with-or-without some additional weight) at the nipples ... evenly spaced, of course ... until you achieve a similar weight ...


Yes, but a roll of masking tape + some 8p nails (just a suggestion for the added weights ... tape the "nails" to the spokes ... adjacent to the nipples) is cheaper than a pair of tires which you may find to be too heavy for your taste.

Ride with the weighed down wheels (you only need to do the rear wheel but could do both, of course) ...

See if you actually feel a real-or-imagined difference OR if the difference is significant!
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alfeng said:
Yes, but a roll of masking tape + some 8p nails (just a suggestion for the added weights ... tape the "nails" to the spokes ... adjacent to the nipples) is cheaper than a pair of tires which you may find to be too heavy for your taste.
Of course, that should read "8d nails" ...
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Get a good frame pump and some good tyres and tubes.

I'd go with Conti Gatorskins, some specialized turbo tubes (with the smooth valve stem) and a Lezyne Pressure Drive pump (216mm length). For home use, to top up the pressure in the tyres, I really like the Specialized floor pumps. I've had one for several years and combined with the smooth valve stemmed innertubes, I've never had to hold the pump head onto the inner tube stem. Those smooth stems keep the rubber seals in the pump from getting chewed up like the traditional threaded inner tube stems but I digress.

I miss the days of frames where you could wedge in a full sized frame pump but some of the better quality larger pumps, that attach to a bracket secured to the bottle cage mounts, provide excellent inflation. If you like you could always carry a CO2 and use a smaller pump that's also stored in your bag to get things started and in an emergency, use it to inflate the tyre.

It might seem like a pain in the ass when you have to inflate a 25C tyre with seemingly thousands of strokes with a mini **** pump but it sure beats a long walk or the drama you went through.
Two words: Carbon Fiber

Topeak Micro Rocket Carbon. 55 Grams of 'You'll never walk home alone again'. I've had mine for about five years and only use it once or twice a year. I pass it around to the kiddies when their CO2 inflators go tits up. Love it.


In keeping with my All Things Eyetalian superiority, my current backup to my CO2 rig is my Barbieri Nana. So much carbon fiber and Titanium sexy...it'll get you laid while saving your butt from shoving your bike all the way back to the house.


Life is too short to fugly up a fine racing bike with a frame pump...unless you are talking about a color-matching or chrome Silca Impero. In which case, The Rules™ have an exception clause for.
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y...it'll get you laid while saving your butt from shoving your bike all the way back to the house.
I had a full size frame pump with the carbon finish. I used to get laid all the time til the finish started chipping. :angry:
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Friends, here is how I responded to my flat tire problem. Tonight I went to my local bike shop and I asked, "Do you have 'Kenda Kwik Trax' tires in stock?" They do not. However, they did have 'Schwalbe Marathon Racer HD Speed Guard, Folding 35-622' available. I said yes to them even though they are about double the cost of the Kendas. New tires and tubes were installed.

This does not excuse me from learning how to repair flats, but I feel a little better now knowing they are there. They look tougher than my former Michelin Lithions. I totally agree with maydog that I need to learn how to fix flats.

At some point in the future I want to experiment with polyurethane tires, probably when I buy my next bike. Alfeng has me curious about them now. There's so much trash on my local roads...he has an interesting idea.

CampyBob, I have fallen in love with your pumps! At some point really soon I'm going to order them. Hopefully they are still available, and at a reasonable price point. Thanks a lot for the photos, I really appreciate seeing them.

Mr. Beanz, my soul wants to ride my single bike as well as you do yours. I'll see how things go tomorrow!

Thanks a ton

Changing a tire is all about patience. I've seen some really good riders get all jumbled up trying to do roadside repairs out of haste. Seriously, two of them actually in tears. :lol:

I like a small frame pump cause it can get me anywhere in a pinch. I have a Lezyne on each of my road bikes. A bit expensive but I like the chrome look. Now Performance has a look a like for far less. I can get 80-90 psi out of it even though it claims 160. BS ha ha! :p

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Hi Bob!

Isnt field repairs a trip? :D This is what I call "a 20 euro flat". :p

It could be worst! If it was the rear you would be all smudged too! :D

+1 on carrying a HP (high pressure) pump with you.

Some notes:

- Tires: Check the tougher Rubino Tires from Vittoria. They make some sidewall reinforced tires like the gator skins too. I have about 6000 km on a pair of Rubino Pro Tech with literally 0 Flats. No, I am not careful. :p

- Try to find the dimension for the Thickness of the tread! Some ppl say that its important for flat resistance.

- Wrap your co2 catridges with something made of cloth for the freezing (froze may help you with that :p).

-lf you have to use soddin CO2 inflators, have a rag on you to clean the tires and rims before installing.

- If you have a hard time with tire levers , get a pair of hooked ones. One hooks on the spoke, keeping the bead of the rim and you remove with the other.

- Do carry a tire boot with. Unless you carry an extra tire.

- Do repair tubes. My tubes have about 3 patches each. Do carry some patches with you too.

- Bro tip: :p Wrap a little teflon on the stem of the tube valves to reduce gas losses.

My bag of tricks: :D

I also carry a presta to Schraeder adaptor so I can get the tires up to 80 psi on a gas station.

There is an extra tube there of course, but I ehmmm, left it on the other bike... :D

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