I was riding my road bike and my pedals locked up and I couldn't spin anymore. I got off the bike to check the gears and chains and while fiddling with them I heard a loud POP and my rear tire popped and kind of tacoed the bike rim. Why did this happen? What did I do and what can I do to prevent this from happening again? I am new to road biking and I absolutely LOVE it!! I just want to learn more so I can no have the fear of going farther away from my house than I can run home!

  • i dont think your pedals locked, but sounds like your wheel jammed in the frame. Do you pedals spin freely? can you back spin the cranks? Sounds like your wheel is done.
    – Matt Adams
    Aug 1, 2012 at 4:57
  • How does it get jammed? My pedals do spin freely but, obviously they stopped until the tire popped and after that they would spin again. Do I need a new tire or a entire new wheel? I did air it up before I went on the ride so maybe I filled it up too much, is that a possiblity? Thanks in advance for your help!
    – jill clark
    Aug 1, 2012 at 6:08
  • Some additional questions: Did your wheel also lock up (i.e. you came to a skidding standstill) or just your pedals? How old was the rear tire (not the inner tube, the outer tire)? I assume both inner tube and outer tire were ripped after the POP? What do you mean by "Tacoed"? Aug 1, 2012 at 9:39
  • @jillesdewit -- "Tacoed" means no longer flat but curled like a taco. Aug 1, 2012 at 12:07
  • Really nothing you can do to prevent every conceivable problem, but there are things you can do to be prepared for most problems. Carry a small kit with you. I will take extra tubes sometimes on long mountain rides, but usually the kit will have a small crescent, some allens (4,5,6), some like a patch kit or superglue (good for small thorns) and a pump. This should help you get past the fear of getting stranded. And take a cell phone. I have a parks tool kit bit.ly/N2v3Em that I leave in my camel back
    – BillyNair
    Aug 1, 2012 at 20:06

3 Answers 3


If you didn't notice any broken spokes, it could have also been that the bead of the tire popped off the rim and caught on the brakes, preventing the wheel from moving and then ultimately dragging on the ground causing a blowout and maybe warping the rim. Once the tube popped, it would no longer be pushing the tire in to the brakes and allowing your wheel to spin freely again.

  • When this happened to me, I think it was because I didn't have sufficient pressure in the tube which let my tire work its way free. The loss of pressure that caused this could have even been a slow leak that was aquired previously on the ride.
    – Benzo
    Aug 1, 2012 at 13:03

You almost certainly broke a spoke. Broken spokes are rare on a bike in good condition, but they do happen randomly.

You should carry a spoke wrench so that, in case of a broken spoke, you can loosen the spokes on the opposite side to allow the wheel to turn and get you home. Also, loosening the brake on that wheel (as if you were going to remove the wheel) provides more clearance for a wobbly wheel (though of course it seriously reduces your braking ability).

(But be aware that exotic wheels with fewer than, say, 20 spokes will taco so badly when one breaks that you'll not be able to correct it with a spoke wrench and/or by loosening the brake.)


my rear tire popped and kind of tacoed the bike rim

I guess either:

  • the rim sidewall failed (this does wear down eventually, if you're using rim brakes); if sufficiently weakened, the inner tube pressure will buckle the rim outwards, until decompression (or a sharp edge) bursts the tube
  • or, the rim was distorted because of a broken spoke (when a spoke breaks, uneven tension pulls the rim out of true), and either:
    • the spoke caught in the chain or rear derailleur,
    • or the rim distorted enough to foul the rim brakes; if the brake ended up touching the tyre sidewall instead of the braking surface, this would be sufficient to damage the sidewall and again explain the tube exploding

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