So, you know in theory, that if you screw your C02 canister into the adapter thingame, tyres go up, and theoretically, you’ll ride away smiling. You pop the canister in your pocket at the beginning of a race, hope you won’t need to use it, and if you’re in luck, you throw it back in your race bag where it will rest until the next big event.
This is all well and good, but how many riders have you seen on the side of the track, calling for a pump when their pre-race prep has failed them? Every adapter system is different, and it’s always worth having a practice run with an unfamiliar system.
How hard do I need to screw it in? How fast does the air come out of it? Why has my glove stuck to the the now-frozen cartridge? If I get a double flat and need to use a second cartridge, what happens when I unscrew the empty one? If fixing the flat quickly is your priority on race day, these are questions well worth answering early.
Take the time to use a canister out on a trail ride, or in your lounge room – somewhere the lets you take your time, and become familiar with how it works. If you’re feeling really keen, get someone to time a tyre change, so you know how long it will take you in a race, and how much ground the riders in front will put into you while you fix the flat. If you can get it down to less than two minutes, book a ticket to the tyre changing Olympics.
If you find burning through canisters is putting a dent in your coffee fund, maybe pull yours out of your pocket on a group ride and come to the rescue of the next rider that gets a flat. That way you get to test out the quick inflation properties of your new favourite toy, look like a hero for being prepared, and if you’re really lucky, the rider in need might even buy you a drink!