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How Long Can You Ride on a Flat Tire

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It could happen to every cyclist to get a flat tire and no patches or spare tires to repair it. What are the possible options for action in such a situation? To push the bike to the nearest bike store, to call a friend, or to ride the bike with a flat tire. 

But for how long can you ride on a flat tire? 

I did a little research on the subject and found the following: 

You can ride your bike with a flat tire for a few miles or even more if you are more adventurous. But the problem is that you’re going to wreck the tire, inner tube, and rim. It would be best if you never risked destroying your wheels this way.

Is it dangerous to ride a bike with a flat tire?

While it’s not dangerous to ride a bike with a flat tire at slow speeds, you might permanently damage your rim and tire. You might be at risk on your next ride when you fix the flat tire. I would suggest a careful visual inspection of the tire and the rim. 

Look specifically for flat spots, dents & deviations of the bead. Also, the tube may have suffered additional pinch-punctures from riding while deflated. 

In general, the best thing you can do in this case is doing the walk of shame to your local bike shop. Explain very well the situation, and they will take care of everything. I don’t trust rim/tire that has gone through a flat tire riding. 

What to do when you have a flat tire 

We already know that you shouldn’t ride your bike with a flat tire. So what to do then? First of all, you will need some simple tools like tire levers or maybe a multi-tool with included tire levers. You’ll also need a mini pump or CO2 cartridge. You may also need a patch kit or tire plug to fix the flat tire or a new tire to change the old one. 

How to change a bike tire in 6 steps

  1. Released the brakes
  2. Remove the tire
  3. Deflate the remaining air 
  4. Find the culprit
  5. Patch it / Install the new tire
  6. Put the tire back to the bike

Can you walk a bike with a flat tire?

You can and should walk a bike with a flat tire if you haven’t got any tools or spare parts to fix it. When you’re not on the bike, the tire itself likely has enough air to keep rolling without damaging the rim and the inner-tube. 

Do you know what’s better than walking a bike? Calling a friend to pick you up is a smart move. That’s why you should always bring your phone with you while cycling long-distance. 

Related: Best Smartphone Mounts for Bikes 

Are puncture-resistant tires worth it?

You might ask the obvious question at this stage – should I upgrade my tires to puncture-resistant ones. And are puncture-resistant tires worth it?

Puncture-resistant tires are made of thicker and tougher rubber, and often they have additional protective layers inside the tire. But let’s start with the truth here – puncture-resistant tires are not puncture-proof, and you still might get a puncture. 

You’re less likely to get a flat tire with those tires, but there is a huge disadvantage as well. Puncture-resistant tires are heavier than standard tires due to the additional rubber. They’re worth it for commuting to work or a casual weekend ride in the countryside. It’s a trade-off between weight and your ability to fix a flat tire.

Why do my bicycle tires keep losing air?

It would help if you regularly pumped your tires because even a correctly functioning tire will lose air over time. According to Oaks & Spokes a typical skinny road bike tire (700x23c) will lose half of the pressure in just two days, and a mountain bike tire (26×2.0) might last a week or two. 

If your bike tire keeps losing air at even faster rates, you should change the inner-tube or patch it. 

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About Alek Asaduryan

Alek Asaduryan is the founder of YesCycling and has been riding bikes and in the cycling industry since 1991. Since then, his mission is to make cycling more accessible to everyone. And each year, he continues to help more people to achieve that. When he's not out riding his beloved fitness bike, Alek reports on news, gear, guides, and all things cycling related.

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