ASK RIDE…I’m riding in a bunch and get a flat tyre. What should I do and what should the bunch do?

I’ve just started riding with a local bunch that at times can get quite bit stressed out if everyone doesn’t know the rules.  I’m getting the hang of most things but when I’m riding in a bunch and get a flat tyre, what should I do and what should the bunch do?
Rick (Glebe NSW)
Before you have a flat out on the road learn how to change a flat tyre and make sure your have the right size value stems for your spare tubes for the width of your rims.
  • First you should hold your line (no sudden surprises), call “mechanical” or “flat” and move out of the line and the bunch, then slow to a stop, getting off your bicycle only where it is safe to do so.  Remember to shift to the smallest cog at the back as you slow down – will make it easier to get a rear wheel out and back in.Most flats are rear wheel flats anyway.
  • The members of the bunch should pass the call of “mechanical” or “flat” up and down the bunch.
  • The bunch should slow to a stop smoothly, and get out of the traffic where it is safe.
  • They should then wait until you and the couple of mates who stopped with you back down the road join them after fixing the flat tyre.

This of course assumes you have spare tube, pump or gas bottle and tyre levers.

If you have the necessary tools and bits - remember “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” and DON’T PANIC.  Proceed to change the flat tyre smoothly and methodically.  Check for the cause of the flat and make sure you put a new tube back in the tire.  DON’T RUSH.  Avoid pinch flats and put the tyre back on the rim with your thumbs – no tire levers. The bunch might be impatient but they will be even crankier if 500m down the road the wheel goes flat because you mucked up the change rushing to do it quicky.

Armon Hicks
Armon Hicks is president of the Sydney Cycling Club. Providing five training rides a week, regular tours, frequent time trials and supporting club/open racing for riders willing and able to go the distance.
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