I have a confession to make. Up until yesterday, I'd never changed a bike tire.
Yes, a lot of people have never changed a bike tire. But I've done three triathlons. I've biked to work and across New York City's garbage-strewn streets probably 100 times. And I've gone on several 50-mile-plus rides.
Every year before a big race, I watch a bunch of YouTube videos. I attend (but never actively participate in) tire-changing clinics. I check and double check my saddle bag to make sure I have everything I need in the event of a flat tire. But I'd never actually done it myself.
You see, my two-and-a-half-year-old bike has never had a flat. At this point, I consider that a blessing and a curse: Before every long ride, I wonder -- Will this be the day it finally happens?
Because I don't want my upcoming sprint triathlon with Team Whole Living to be "that day," I finally decided to take matters into my own hands -- my own greasy, dirty hands -- and practice changing my back bike tire. And to (hopefully) show you all how easy it can really be, I decided to film it!
My friend and fellow triathlete-in-training Sarah, also a tire-change virgin, was up for the challenge as well. First, we tackled her bike together; once we worked out all the kinks there, she filmed me working on mine.
Despite the sweat dripping from my face -- it was 90 degrees! -- and the 12 minutes or so of struggling with the tire levers (which I, oops, repeatedly call "tire irons") that I cut from the following videos, it was actually easier than I'd imagined. And I did it! Take a look.
I know my cinematography and my directions aren't the crispest and clearest, and you can certainly find more detailed how-tos elsewhere online. But I hope these videos will be helpful, or at least motivational, to show that anybody can do this. Even a beginner. Yes, it will help to watch this and other videos. But take it from me: You don't really know what you're doing until you've actually done it yourself. It feels great to finally have confidence in knowing that you can change -- you have changed -- a bike tire.
What about you? Have you ever practiced changing a tire? Or have you had to try your luck in an emergency situation? Do you have plans for if (knock on wood) you get a flat during a long ride or a race?
(P.S. -- Did you notice my ridiculous bike-shorts tan lines in this video? They're from an amazing 44-mile ride I did this weekend around Brooklyn and Queens. If you're in the area, I highly recommend this awesome beach loop!)
Amanda MacMillan is a freelance writer, currently blogging about planning an budget- and eco-friendly wedding at LeanGreenBride.com. She has completed three Olympic-distance triathlons and several half marathons, and is looking forward to her first sprint tri this fall with Team Whole Living. Her triathlon training blog runs every Thursday on Whole Living Daily.