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One thing that is on my mind a lot recently is getting a flat tyre on tour.
In the past riding with tubeless tyres this had never troubled me. I always carried a tubleless repair kit which I still do here in Japan with gas canister although I have breakdown service in Japan which will come and fix a flat for me anyway.
On tour overseas I initially was using Fix-a-Flat repair cans because airlines don’t allow the little gas canisters and those fix a flat cans are cheap enough to just buy at first gas station and give it to the rental shop when I leave. I got a flat tyre on tour in New Zealand and used one of those cans, worked fine.
I now have a couple of bike specific ones, the smallest one is size of a mens deodorant can (Lynx/Axe etc) and I bring this with me everywhere even if it’s more a good luck charm with the model bikes I am riding of late.
The rise of the ADV scene has brought spoke wheels back into vogue. Most of my recent rides have been on bikes with spoke wheels and that means tubes which are a major pain if you get a puncture.
No simple plug, inflate and continue. You need to remove the wheel, get the tyre off one side of rim and get the tube out. Then you need to find the puncture which may not be obvious so you need to inflate the tube before applying a patch then putting everything back together. Its a huge task even if you were at home in workshop let alone in foreign land on side of the road.
In parts of SE Asia there are vulcanizer shops in every town. Philippines in particular I don’t give it a second thought but elsewhere that becomes less. On some rides lately like Turkey I did not seen much at all in the way of bike repairs as hardly anyone rode. So I have tried to update my setup to at least have some tools with me.
These are combination tyre levers and spanners. You get 10mm, 12mm on alternate sides of one end then 32mm on the other with 22mm and 27mm via inserts. I am told these are a match for many rear wheel nut sizes but am not really sure. I figure its a start at least and made from T6 alloy adds nothing to my load. I got them on Aliexpress quite reasonable compared to brand name ones. (but note prices on there vary wildly) The repair patches and valve tool I already had been carrying.
I also decided after some procrastination I should have a compressor and got this from Amazon Japan on clearance just $15. It’s small, card is for reference, but still consumes quite a bit of room in my travel bag where space was already at a premium. But if I want to ride countries where help might not be close then I think I need to carry something like this.
I’m still going to seek assistance as my first preference so this pump might allow me to get to a town where not having anything would leave me stranded. But if that is not possible then my thinking is if I have some tools usually someone is going to stop and see if you need a hand. It’s not ideal setup like tubeless repair but better than relying on simply good fortune.
There are some liquids that can help in preventing the punctures to the tube tires, I never tried them, but read reviews about the product and people are happy using them. They block the hole from where the air is getting out, and prevent any kind of puncture. You should try it once.
Hi Bruce, yes they say it needs to be placed in the tubes prior to getting a puncture to have best chance of working which for a rental bike might be difficult.
I always carry a ‘fix a flat’ inflation can which contains same stuff. These work fine for tubeless and occasionally work with tubes depending on the nature of the leak.
In future I would prefer to just rent a bike with tubeless tyres that can be easy fixed and not be at risk of being stranded.