Owning a road bike and being able to pedal away my stresses and worries has been a great benefit to me. I definitely recommend a road bike to those looking to keep their knees in shape and get some zen time on the road. That being said, there are some challenges that can come with attempting to maintain the health of your road bike on your own. In preparing for another season of riding, I had the opportunity to learn how to change my bike tire and put in a new tube. It was a long, frustrating time, and I learned some key lessons that I wish I had known before trying it out on my own.
First of all, I realized I needed to know the lingo. Presta valve? Shrader valve? Beading? PSI? Do you know what these things are? I knew PSI (pounds per square inch), but the others were a little foggy to me. So when I was tired of guessing and moved to online help, I learned quickly that I needed to know what I was looking for. I had an adapter, but I didn’t know what kind, what kind of pump I needed, etc. to get the job done.
Make sure ALL of the air is out of the tube. Do not just rely on the fist “woosh” of air that comes out of the valve when you release the air pressure. Be sure to press down on the tube all away around the tire to get the air. It will be much more difficult to get the tire and tube separated if there is still air keeping the tube inflated.
Have the necessary tools. When I first tried to get the tire off the rim, I was using my fingers to try and pull up the beading. Not only did this result in very sore fingers, but it also took significantly longer to get it done. So, just do yourself a favor and invest in some cheap tire levers to help you loosen the tire from the rim.
Have a pump with a build-in tire gauge. I didn’t at first, so I had to keep switching back and forth between a pump and a tire gauge, losing air every time I switched. Instead, I got a basic hand pump with a built in tire gauge that I can use to check my tires and to air up a new tube.
Now that I know a little more what I’m doing, my bike is ready to hit the road. Be sure to check your tire pressure regularly and take good care to change your tubes as necessary.