The sound of air escaping a tire is one of the worst sounds a cyclist will hear. Flat tires are also quite common, so you should know how to change one. This basic knowledge will save you time and money and ensure that your rides are more about actually riding and less about waiting on the side of the road for a friend to find you.
But it's not just the tires you need to understand. Knowing how to make minor adjustments to your brakes will keep your bike riding smoothly and safely. In addition, replacing a slipped chain or tightening various bolts here and can be lifesavers. Make sure that you carry a spare tube, pump and tire levers and wrenches for the actual work [source: Jim Langely].