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How to Carry a Spare Tubular/Sew-Up Tire
As discussed in Why I Ride Tubular Tires Exclusively, I ride tubular (sew up) tires exclusively for safety and other reasons. But tubular tires can be punctured, and a spare tire is necessary to be able to ride home, in case the can of tire sealant I carry does not seal the puncture.
To fit that spare tire, you must carry it, somehow. Some riders carry a spare tire in a jersey pocket, but I never do this, as I generally need all my pockets for other purposes, and I could easily forget to take the tire. By keeping my repair kit in a pack, it’s always there.
Instead, I carry the following inside the Timbuk2 under-seat pack (size large):
- One pre-glued spare Veloflex Record, with a pre-attached valve extender (which can be impossible to change in the field, don’t assume you can remove it from the flat tire).
- One can of tire sealant. I try this first when I get a flat. If it fails, the spare is used.
- One mini pump, needed to inflate the spare tire, or to top off the punctured tire.
- One tire lever (plastic), to help with removing a tire.
- A small amount of cash, business cards, my name and phone number on a card.
The entire bundle including the pack weighs 1.0 pounds, plus or minus a few grams. One pound is not nothing, but it’s not very much, and far better than walking home, or DNF’ing a race.
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The spare tire must have already had a thin layer of glue applied. Otherwise it won’t stick, which is very dangerous.
Use clear strapping tape to compact the tire into a tight bundle; it will then fit easily.
Because use of a spare should be an infrequent issue (I need one about every 6 months), there is no point in carrying a heavy spare tire, which is why I use a Veloflex Record. A thinner and lighter tire is also easier to mount than a heavier and stiffer one.