Keep those wheels rolling - aesthetics and practicality

Cycling, May 14, 2018

Road cycling is a sport steeped in tradition. Some of which has practical applications when out on the road.

Road cycling is a sport full of tradition and history. This applies as much to our bikes as it does to the racing that many of us love to watch. Looking at a bike and how it has been set up can tell you a fair bit about the quality of the mechanic working on it and their experience in the industry.

One simple thing to watch for is the set-up of your tire on the rim. When the tire is put on the mechanic should have aligned the label on the tire and valve stem of the tube. Aesthetically this is a classic set-up. But it also has a practical application, that works just as well in any of the sport’s various disciplines.

The practicality of the alignment of label and valve comes into play when you get a flat out on your ride. What is the worst thing that can happen when you use your one replacement tube? That you put it in the tire and it goes flat right away because there was something – a flint of stone or shard of glass – in the tire that you didn’t notice.

When fixing your flat it is important to check your tire before putting in the new tube to make sure that nothing will puncture it. The puncture in the old tube, through the alignment of label and valve, can help you check the tire in the correct spot.

To start the process of changing the tube you should pull your tube out of the tire. Once the tube is out you can re-inflate it to find where the puncture occurred. You can then align the valve of the punctured tube with your tire label and quickly have an idea of the area on your tire that you need to check for damage. Often the smallest of pieces of glass or stone will be in the tire, unnoticeable unless you check a specific area, and need to be picked out. Once you have removed the offending bit you can put in the new tube knowing it won’t be punctured again instantly.

So, while the alignment of the tire label and valve stem make for an aesthetically pleasing bike set-up, and tell you something about the work being done on your bike, it also plays an important role when you flat. Keep those wheels rolling.