The sun streams through the crisp morning air as the leaves are just starting to reveal their autumn brilliance. You stretch and take a deep breath; it’s a beautiful day for a Sonoma bike tour. You are peddling along the country lanes without a care in the world when, suddenly, your bike screeches like a banshee and you come skidding to a halt. What happened? Did a tire come loose, chain fall off, or tube go flat? Whatever the issue, a bike malfunction while out touring can put a damper on your activities. Here are our top tips to make sure a flat tire doesn’t deflate your day as well.
Good planning and preparation are essential to ensuring that your day runs smoothly, and how you prepare will change depending on what bike you use. For those using their own bike, proper maintenance and care are extremely important. Knowing how to maintain your bike in peak condition will save you from dealing with preventable issues while out on a ride. If planning on renting a bike locally it’s still a good idea to research and be knowledgeable about fixing common failures, even though the bike will have been professionally maintained. A simple search on YouTube, such as “how to fix a bike tire,” will provide many detailed, instructional videos about bike care and maintenance and should be sufficient to familiarize yourself with the mechanisms of a bike.
The day of your tour has arrived! You have kept your bike in tip-top shape and have a handle on the common issues you might encounter. Before setting off, make sure that you have a backpack or basket containing the essential tools for working on a bike. It’s a good idea to at least carry a set of allen wrenches, a spare tube or patch kit, and a pump. Other items can come in handy as well, such as tire levers if your tire is difficult to get off of the rim. Carrying some basic first aid supplies is a good idea as well; bike malfunctions often lead to small cuts and scrapes. With all your knowledge collected and your gear ready, you set out on a beautiful Sonoma bike tour.
And then it happens; you hear a loud pop and can feel every bump in the road vibrating through your wheels. You lurch forward and are thrown clear; good thing you remembered to wear a helmet! First, don’t panic: you are ready for this! Thankfully, you aren’t hurt, and due to your preparation you have all the tools and skills to get you back on the road in no time. Having trouble remembering what to do? Use your smartphone to revisit those instructional videos you watched earlier. After a quick refresh on the instructions, you fix your flat tire like you were born to it and return to enjoying a perfect day.
Good planning, learning the proper skills, and bringing the right tools can make all the difference. With the correct knowledge a bike malfunction can be no more than a speed bump, instead of leaving you stranded in the country. However, fixing flats isn’t for everyone. If you want to have a completely stress free experience, consider going on a guided tour instead! Your knowledgeable guide will fix any issue while you relax in the beautiful countryside. Check out our post on Guided vs Self-Guided Tours to see which option is right for you.