It’s also quite fitting considering that my to do list for this week includes sitting down with my road bike tire to practice fixing a flat and doing some basic bike maintenance on Emma in preparation for Sunday’s half Ironman.
I’ve been cycling since 2009 and most of the time Pablo has spoiled me and done the bike maintenance for me. I’ve never had to change a tire, so I never really learned how to do it. I’ve watched YouTube videos, demos and assisted Pablo, but I’ve never actually done it myself.
I’m hoping I’ll never have a flat during a race, but I have to be realistic, it could happen and the last thing I want is to have a flat on race day and not know how to fix it! I’ve worked for months to get ready for these races, a flat WILL NOT ruin my race!
Besides flats, there are a few other bike maintenance things to consider. In reality, bikes are pretty simple, but here are things Pablo and I do on a regular basis:
- Tire pressure – First things first, get a floor pump. Next learn what the PSI for your tires is (it’s typically 100-120). Check your tires before every ride by giving them a squeeze. If they’re soft, use the floor pump to add air. On race day (do this race morning, not the evening before), check the tire pressure with the floor pump’s gauge and add air as needed.
- Clean your bike – We have a friend who is always telling people to clean their bikes, promising it will reduce bike issues. I don’t know if this is what he means, but my routine includes wiping down the bike, particularly the front wheel and brakes, especially if you have an aero bottle, because they typically leak a little, and clean and grease your bike chain.
- Wear and tear – Unless you ride a lot, this is probably less of an issue, but you always want to keep an eye out for wear and tear of the tires, chain and cassette. They all wear with the miles and need to be replaced over time.
That’s really it!
Most important is definitely to learn to change your tire and always carry a flat kit. We’ve switched to CO2 cartridges and while I don’t plan on practicing that before the half, I do plan on practicing using one over the next few months because I’ve heard you can definitely mess up.
The amazing, Chrissie Wellington, actually got a flat in Kona in 2008 and misfired her 2 CO2 cartridges! Luckily, a fellow competitor gave her a cartridge and the coolest part, Chrissie went on to win the race!