Punctures are annoying to say the least and they always seem to happen at the worst time. But why do I keep getting them? What causes them?
As the name suggests a puncture is simply a hole in the inner tube which air then leaks out from, however the root cause of a puncture can vary.
A pinch flat is a hole created when the tire is compressed so much that the rim crushes the inner tube. This usually happens when riding over aggressive bumps, typically at high speed, so over rocks or up curbs. It's often caused by running your tires at too lower pressure, so make sure there is enough air and try to avoid those aggressive bumps!
This could be a multitude of things, anything from natural debris like thorns or man made such as glass. These sharp objects make their way through the tire and cut the inner tube causing a puncture. It's often hard to avoid these types of debris, but if you spot something in your path, try your best to avoid it.
The valve is the device that allows air in and out of the inner tube. Sometimes, over time, the valve might get damaged and no longer seal properly. This can be caused by external knocks or damage caused by aggressive pump usage. Be gentle with the valve and avoid yanking or pulling the pump off the valve.
Tire side wall damage
Sometimes the side of your tire can get damaged, creating a puncture. The side wall of the tire is designed to flex to absorb road vibrations and is therefore relatively thin compared to the running surface. For this reason, sharp curbs or rocks can often make their way through. Best advice is to try avoid rubbing the side of the tire on curbs when stopping to park up.
There are tires available with tough puncture protections layers built into them which do a remarkable job but are not bullet proof. Alternatively you might want to invest in some inner tubes with sealant inside. The idea being that should you have a puncture, it will self seal the hole. However, you may have to pump up your tires again to compensate for some of the lost air.