Picture this: You’re out cruising some country roads, everything is going great and you’re caught up in the moment, then bam! You hit a pot hole that was hidden by the shadows, and there’s no more air in your front tire.

“Good thing I carry a spare tube,” you’re thinking. But then you replace the tube and start to inflate it, only to see it popping out a slice in the tire’s sidewall!!

With no replacement tire in your seatbag, what do you do? Ride home anyway? Bad idea, because the new tube will probably pop, then you’re sh*t out of luck.

So what you want to do is…

Boot the tire!

“Booting” a tire involves placing a thick piece of material between the tire and tube, which will keep the tube inside the tire.

My two favorite tire boots are:

  • A dollar bill.
  • An energy bar wrapper.

Hopefully you are carrying at least one of those items (or can find one lying along the curb.)

dollar bill for tire boot

Let’s say you have a dollar bill. Fold it up so it’s pretty thick, but make sure it’s larger than the gash in the tire.

Replace the tube (following these instructions,) but before mounting the tire, slide the dollar between the tube and the gash.

Then mount the tire, and pump it up very slowly. Watch to make sure the tube doesn’t bulge through the tire. If it looks good, ride home gently. Then replace the tire ASAP!

See, there is a good reason to always carry money and an energy bar!

Levi Bloom is an experienced endurance athlete who has been training and competing for over 17 years. A former Cat 1 road and mountain bike racer (professional class on the regional circuit), he is now a cycling coach (USA Cycling Level 3 Certified) and sports nutrition coach (Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified).

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