As of today I have changed a full set of tires twice, taken my rear tire off 10 times and replaced my tubes 4 times. Shit happens friends. When you inevitably get a flat, being prepared will make or break your day. It also helps to have a good crew of riders who have your back and also know how to change a tire (makes it so much faster).
The below photo was taken while repairing a flat after picking up a nail in my rear tire. I lost air pressure and the bead almost instantly after hitting the nail at 55mph. The bike wrenched to the left while I counter steered to maintain balance as I aimed for the highway shoulder. I battled the lack of control by giving into it and riding out the fishtailing rear end. Experience and a bit of luck get all the credit for getting me to the side of the road. The right tools, preparation and good riding buddies got me going again.
To prepare for a flat all I did was change my tires twice over the course of a couple weekends. It will be very apparent after the first time what you do and don’t need for your tire change kit. Also your wallet will thank you for it. A tow in a remote area and labor to fix a tire is no joke. In fact in some areas it may not be possible (I had zero cell service when I got my last flat…). For under $100 you can buy the essentials and some beer to change your tires which is roughly the cost at a shop. At worst it is a break even adventure that will pay dividends for you and your riding buddies.
Tire and Tube change Essentials:
BEER: lots of it
Valve stem tool (if you have a tube)
Air Pump (Slime has a decent one)
Lube (lots of lube): 50/50 water and soapy mixture (I use simple green, windex or No-Mar)
Lube container: I used an old travel spray container for hair spray
Rim Protectors: I use cut outs from a plastic container (Plastic Milk containers make great protectors)
Lashing Straps: 4 work best
Nice to have but not critical:
Model Specific Tool Kit
Large Towel: Any old shower or beach towel (put this down on the ground to ensure any contact with your rim is soft)
Tire supports: Blocks of wood to keep the brake disc/sprocket off the ground
Larg Spray Bottle