Is riding a bike with a flat tire safe? This is a question thrown across a lot at me by my lovely readers. It is not a yes or no question as the query has many nuances. So, I decided to write this complete guide on riding a bike with a flat tire.
No, you can not ride a bike with a flat tire. Doing this is a surefire way to cause damage to the wheels, rim, and frame of your bike. Sometimes, the damage is irreversible, I’m afraid.
Sometimes, when you are stuck on a deserted road far from home, you have no choice but to ride a bike with a deflated tire. In such a case, you must know the risks involved and how you can cut them down.
Can You Ride a Bike With Flat Tire? Let’s Know in Detail.
All it requires is a little force from you to pedal and start propelling the bike on a perfect day. The air inside the wheels cut down most of the friction that moves the bike forward swiftly.
In the case of a flat tire, this help from the air is not available, and friction sets in full strength. Thus, it becomes very hard to move the bike.
Riding on a bike with a flat tire is still possible, but it comes with some risks to the bike and your health. Let’s know them one by one:
Risks to Your Bike from Riding a Bike With Flat Tire
The Wheel May Burst
The first risk is that your wheel, inner tube, or both may burst out with pressure. The pointed object that made the nasty hole in one place on your wheel may poke at many other places on the tire as well. Often, many holes may render the tube useless.
If you ride on a flat tire bike, what started as a small hole in your wheel may develop into a long crack. Chances are no amount of patchwork will be able to repair the wheel for further use.
Damage to the Rim
After wheels, damage to the rim is the next big risk if you ride on a bike with a flat tire. The rim of your bike may bend, break, or collapse.
This is the air that supports and disperses most of the bikes and your weight into the ground. With no air as a barrier, all the weights end up taking a toll on the rim itself.
Also, with all air in the wheels gone, the rim starts to bottom out on the bumps in the road. The bumps and pebbles on the road cause small bends in the rim at many places rendering it unable to hold the beads.
Damage to the Bike Frame
The uneven weight distribution, in the absence of air in the wheels, poses a danger to the frame of your bike as well.
The culprits here are the wobbling bike, exertion of force from you, and no protection from the bumps in the road. They may cause the same damages to the bike frame that they may cause to the bike rim, such as bending or breaking it.
Risks to Your Body from Riding a Bike With Flat Tire
During summers, you are at a high risk of dehydration if you ride on a bike with a flat tire. It will demand enormous effort from you to propel a bike with deflated tires. Exerting such a force will make you sweat in large amounts. If you do not have enough liquid handy, you may soon go dehydrated.
While riding on a bike with a flat tire, your lower limbs have no choice but to work at full throttle. You may have to compensate with poor riding posture to exert extra force. This may cause a painful strain on your muscles at the end of the day.
Also, legs are fairly large parts of the body, and so are the muscle groups. When you push these muscles to the limits, they take a large amount of time to get recovered. Sometimes, the fatigue may last for days.
Risk of Falling Down
Wobbling tires, no suspension, road bumps, bad posture, and exhaustion leads to disaster. The factors pose a great risk of falling and getting yourself injured. So, keep this risk in mind too.
What to do Instead of Riding a Bike With Flat Tire
You must be aware that the risks involved in riding on a bike with flat tires are now worth taking. So, better prepare yourself for the situation before it occurs. Here’s my take on this:
Use Tire Liners
Mr. Tuffy tire liners top my list of recommendations to deal with riding on a bike with flat tires. It is more like a preventative measure.
A tire liner acts as a barrier between the wheel and the inner tube of your bike without adding much extra weight. It can stop any sharp object such as a thorn or glass from reaching the tube and poking it. Thus, you rarely get a flat tire when out on tough terrain.
Consider the tire liners as a small investment in your safety. They are worth every penny.
Change the Tire
If you are a bit proactive, you may be carrying tube patches with you all the time. The best measure for you would be to take a few minutes to repair the flat tire.
You can remove the tire and tube off the rim, repair them, and push them back on the rim without any tools. I took the time to write a detailed guide on how to change bike tires without tools for your reference.
Call a Taxi
If you are anywhere near a city and your phone is well-connected to the service, phone a friend or call a cab. This may sound like an obvious solution, but in the frustration of the moment, people fail to resort to it.
I have seen people getting so frustrated with a flat tire that they easily forget to call for help. In dire times, asking for help is always a good thing.
Drag Your Bike
Last but not least, if all other suggestions are not valid in your situation, get off the bike and drag it. Doing this is better than riding on a bike with a flat tire.
Getting off the bike and dragging it will be for you if you are within a close distance from your destination. However, this trick will also make you tired, but not as much as riding would do.
Now that you know, riding on a bike with a flat tire is neither good for your bike nor good for your body. Better follow the suggestions given in this guide instead of taking the risk.
If you can not stand carrying a repairing kit with you when out on a bike, at least clad your wheels with tire liners. I am reiterating this fact here because it is that important and will prevent your tire from going flat in the first place.