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What Causes Pinch Flats?

By Laurel-Lea Shannon


A pinch flat happens when you ride over an obstacle like railroad tracks or a pothole and the inner tube gets pinched by the rim of the wheel. The tire isn’t punctured the way it would be if you had ridden over a nail or glass. You can recognize a pinch flat by its two telltale holes side by side in the inner tube.

Unlike other flats, pinched flats are more likely to happen if your tire pressure is low. To avoid them, check your tire pressure before each ride, and pump up your tires at least once a week. (The tire pressure range is printed on the side of the tire.)

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