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How to Carry a Spare Tubular/Sew-Up Tire

Last updated 2011-09-10 - Send Feedback
Related: gear, Maintenance, Road Bikes, tubular

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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Spare tire

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.

Timbuk2 under-seat bicycle pack (size large) on Trek Madone 6.9 SSL
Pack contains a spare tire, tire sealant, tire lever and a few oddments
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