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Don’t Forget New Tires for Your Big Ride

A lot of work goes into getting ready for a big cycling event. Whether you’re preparing for 50 miles or a century, you’ll spend weeks or months building up and getting ready for it.

With all that effort, it’s especially disheartening if something causes you to end your ride early. Unfortunately, many riders forget one important part of their ride prep that could lead to that exact outcome: new tires.

Longtime cycling coach Darryl MacKenzie has seen many a rider regret setting out without brand-new tires on their bike. He’s even experienced the heartbreak himself. Read on for a look at why you need new tires for a big ride, as well as what to do to make the most of your new wheels.

The Danger of Hitting the Road Without a New Set of Wheels

Think about the last big ride event you pedaled. How much time did you spend getting ready? Aside from all the training and equipment upgrades you also had to make travel plans, prepare for what you’d be eating on ride day, and then drive or fly to the event. And that’s not to mention the money you spent to register. 

Now, imagine if you’d only gotten a few miles into that ride and then had to call it quits. Sadly, it’s not an uncommon outcome. Coach Darryl once traveled to Tucson, Arizona, for a big ride only to blow a tire 40 minutes into the event. He then spent hours driving back to San Diego in frustration. 

Blowing a tire isn’t the only issue, as we’ll explore below. Even if you do change your tires before a big ride, you could end up out of commission if you didn’t do it correctly. One of Darryl’s riding groups once had to leave another rider behind because he’d put unusually heavy tires on his bike last minute, which slowed him down and took him out of the ride. 

Why New Tires Matter for Your Big Ride

You can avoid this fate by making sure to include new tires in your ride prep plan. It’s one more thing to do, yes, but it may save you the heartache of heading home from your ride early.

Tires are a significant part of the preparation for an event,” says Coach Darryl. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Thicker tread: The brand-new, thicker tread on your tires will hold up to road hazards much better than thin, worn tread on an old set.
  • Stronger sidewalls: Over time, hundreds of small cuts can form in your tires, making your sidewalls vulnerable to a blowout. New tires don’t have this issue.
  • Speed: The tread on new tires comes to a V-shaped tip at the outer edge, which means that there’s ultimately less tread touching the ground when you ride. Less surface contact leads to less friction, and that means faster pedaling. It also means less chance of your tire hitting a road hazard.

In short, new tires make for a faster, safer ride. And that’s invaluable during a big cycling event.

How To Make the Most of Your New Tires

As we mentioned above, even if you do change your tires before a big ride, it’s possible to do it wrong. To make sure you make the most of your new tires, follow these important steps:

  1. Change your tires about 10 days before your big event. This gives you time to break in the tires and make sure they’re working well. As Darryl explains, it’s “far more likely to have a problem with it in the first week than in the next four or five months.” 
  2. Pump your tires the night before your ride. You won’t take full advantage of your new, speedy wheels unless they’re fully inflated and ready to go.
  3. Align your new wheels and brakes. If your wheels rub against your brake pads at any point in their rotation, it’s going to slow you down and sap your energy (not to mention wear down your brakes). Test this beforehand by slowly spinning the wheel to make sure it rotates freely. If not, loosen the skewer or quick release, center the wheel and retighten everything.
  4. Bring a hand pump on the ride. This ensures you can keep your tires at the right pressure throughout the ride. You probably won’t need it, but it’s good to have one handy when you do.

If you follow these steps, you’ll be well prepared and ready to make the most of your big ride. And keep in mind that you don’t need to throw your old tires away — you can always put those back on after the event and finish them off with your everyday pedaling. That way, you’ll get every mile possible out of every set of tires.


A comfortable saddle is another key component for a successful cycling event. Learn more about what makes our tensioned leather saddles so comfortable and order yours before your next big ride day.

Find more insights from Coach Darryl over at his website.

Photo by Lum3n on Pexels