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Tech How many spare tubes should I maintain when I'm on the road traveling long distance overnight camping touring

adventurous cyclist

turtle speed cyclist
May 16, 2019
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518
I've always maintained one tube but I used it now and it got me to actually thinking the fact that I'm going long distance and touring this year I wondered how many tubes should I actually keep on hand and I would like you guys your advice.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
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I travel with two and a good repair kit.
And with that I went 3000KMs with not one puncture when I was touring.
Ask @thomas he seems to be a puncture magnet.
 

bloaker

Sincerely A Dick
Nov 14, 2011
2,794
3,969
None. Clearly a bike with a flat will be unable to continue your tour, so the best bet when you get a flat is to buy a new bike with new tubes to ensure your best chance of continuing without issue. When you get that new bike, Black Cat the old one home and replace the tube when you get back! :D

I promise when your heart is set on a new bike, you will NOT get a flat.
 

kiwisimon

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Dec 14, 2006
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*Note - I have used a flat tire as an excuse to buy a new bike before.
I love you Michael!
South Africa Love GIF by Rugby World Cup
 

adventurous cyclist

turtle speed cyclist
May 16, 2019
558
518
None. Clearly a bike with a flat will be unable to continue your tour, so the best bet when you get a flat is to buy a new bike with new tubes to ensure your best chance of continuing without issue. When you get that new bike, Black Cat the old one home and replace the tube when you get back! :D

I promise when your heart is set on a new bike, you will NOT get a flat.
I went 27 years without even thinking about getting a flat and I've gone at least probably 48 km one way and never even once thought about getting a flat or what would happen if I got a flat of course the bike I was head at the time it was just easily disposable and I would hitchhike back but yeah I think from what you guys said two tubes would be okay.
Oh and I like your story too.
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
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I always carry two tubes and a patch kit and tire boot. Since I puncture less than once a year on average, that's arguably overkill, but that way I don't have to worry about it. The only part of my kit meant for dealing with punctures that regularly sees some action is my pump, which I frequently lend to fellow riders who have punctured, because in most cases their own pump is compact but less convenient.

Some people puncture all the time, others almost never, even on the same roads. It has a lot to do with tire width and pressure (narrow tires at high pressure are more vulnerable). Cheap tubes and UV-damaged old tires make punctures more likely.
 

adventurous cyclist

turtle speed cyclist
May 16, 2019
558
518
I always carry two tubes and a patch kit and tire boot. Since I puncture less than once a year on average, that's arguably overkill, but that way I don't have to worry about it. The only part of my kit meant for dealing with punctures that regularly sees some action is my pump, which I frequently lend to fellow riders who have punctured, because in most cases their own pump is compact but less convenient.

Some people puncture all the time, others almost never, even on the same roads. It has a lot to do with tire width and pressure (narrow tires at high pressure are more vulnerable). Cheap tubes and UV-damaged old tires make punctures more likely.
What's a tire "boot"?
 

adventurous cyclist

turtle speed cyclist
May 16, 2019
558
518
googles "tire boot"

Well, I'll be darn, see there's a reason why I'm still on this forum.
Thanks.
 

andywood

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Apr 8, 2008
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If you hear stories about people getting multiple flats, it is often because of bad technique when replacing the first flat. EG. not checking for sharp objects in the tyre, pinching the tube between the rim and the tyre, not booting a hole in a tyre.

Practicing changing tubes at home is good on a rainy day.

I would say take two tubes and the levers you need. You can usually boot with snack wrappers etc.

I wouldn't bother with patches on the road. If you really want to patch a tyre, take it home and do it on another rainy day.

Ride on!

Andy
 

joewein

Maximum Pace
Oct 25, 2011
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If you hear stories about people getting multiple flats, it is often because of bad technique when replacing the first flat. EG. not checking for sharp objects in the tyre, pinching the tube between the rim and the tyre, not booting a hole in a tyre.

And I've done it myself too. It pays to be patient and thorough when mending a flat.

I wouldn't bother with patches on the road. If you really want to patch a tyre, take it home and do it on another rainy day.

I learnt this trick from James (@FarEast) when he was still a TCC regular: After you find the punctured spot on the tube, roughen it with sandpaper and apply a thin layer of glue slightly larger than where the patch will go. Set it aside a bit to let it partially dry while you start installing the spare tube. Once the glue is partially dry (it doesn't take long), firmly apply the patch and keep it squeezed. If it's two of you fixing, one of you can attend to the patch while the other gets on with the spare. If it's just you, weigh it down with a stone, but keep the patch and tube clean, while you do the rest of the work. Then by the time the rear wheel is reinstalled and the tire reinflated, you will have a good spare again, ready to be used anytime you need it. It takes almost no extra time :)

Of course you could also wait with the repair until you get home, but chances are a lot of people will forget about it then. And if another puncture happens on the same ride (either on your bike or someone else's), that already repaired tube will come in very handy.
 

adventurous cyclist

turtle speed cyclist
May 16, 2019
558
518
OK, got to the bike shop today. It's nice that he calls me by my first name. Guess I'm a loyal customer . 2 tube and a 450 lumens cost 5700 yen. Monday I get Nenkin so I'll buy it then. I didn't write down the light, but it had adjustable brightness. tubes were 1000 yen each and the light was aroud 4000 something. He always gives a 10 or 20 percent off so the price was 5700.
Thanks guys for the educating me on the lights.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
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If it's two of you fixing, one of you can attend to the patch while the other gets on with the spare.
If alone, wrap the tube around your seat freshly adhered patch side down with slightly more tension the more you wrap it around, this puts good pressure on the patch and leaves you two hands to install the spare tube.
 

Elzico2012

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Jan 29, 2014
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Two spare tubes is my advice
1. One spare tube for the spare tube
2. One spare tube to help someone in need, and still keep one in case (below yesterday's story)

Yesterday, long ride, and with 46km left, I had a front tube puncture, due to a hole in the road just at the exit of a tunnel. Repaired with the spare tube, but nothing happened when filling with air. I thought it was a problem with the air pump, as I used a new one. But no. Checked the spare tube again and discovered a big V-shape cut of 3-4mm. I haven't had any flat for at least more than 12000km and for some reason, this spare tube always with me, not really protected, in my cycling bag or other bags, must have been previously in contact with some sharp objects. Anyway, I realized I had only 2 pads (and thought I had a full pack) with me and as often with these J pads, could not do it well in once. It appeared the air was escaping through 2 opposite directions. The second pad did not make it. What to do with such a long distance ? I was in a narrow forest road in the south of Boso mountains, north of Kamogawa, and yesterday no cyclists were on this road too . Closest train station was 10km south, but was heading north. Called my wife, a gold paper driver, to pick me up but she was not in a good mood. It was 2pm. I decided to ride with the flat. Between in, my wife, who cancelled her afternoon plans, agreed to pick me up in Ootaki. Still had to ride 20km. After 7km with the flat, and surprisingly riding faster than expected, I unexpectedly saw another cyclist who was watching his phone on the side of the road. I asked for help and for pads and luckily, he helped me by giving his spare tire. Saved, and very thanks full to this guy. (was ready to pay him the tube, but he did not accept. I would have done the same anyway)
Fortunately, it was a good weather yesterday

Conclusion: I decided to bring 2 spare tubes from now on, just in case I can help someone in need.

Lesson learned:
- Check the spare tube regularly to make sure there isn't any cut, and bring enough pad.
- Not being overconfident that punctures are part of a past life (ie, not paying attention to spare tubes and pads before riding)
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
3,508
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Is a pad a patch?
I find cyclists are some of the nicest most generous people there are. Maybe it's because we are the most vulnerable road users and we have to look after each other. Great lesson for all of us to pay it forward.
 
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