Bike tires are a balloon covered by a rubber surface that interacts with the road, like any tire out there, and you need to have flat repair preparation ready when it does happen to you. Glass, nails, and other sharp objects from trees and bushes can puncture your tire, and then flatten your tube that resides inside. How do you fix a flat? Have a pump and a repair tube kit, and with a little knowledge your disaster in the middle of no where, will be less than eventful.
Cyclists Should Have Tire Flat Repair Knowledge
Biking Requires Flat Repair Knowledge
With all of the bumps and cracks on the road, your tires get a real beating. If you ride often, you should be inspecting your tires often, and have the following items ready on your person, just in case you experience a flat.
- Bicycle Tire Pump
- Traditional Style Patch Kit with Glue
- Two Tire Levers
You may want to have an extra valve stem for your kind of tire, and an extra tube for really bad blow outs, but this is just if you don’t mind the extra room. Many cyclists who go on long rides, bring these two items, so they can quickly change the tube, and have the time spent repairing on the road to a minimum. This just depends on how far you are from any civilized service support, or a hardware store. If you are biking out in the farmland areas of America, and you don’t have an extra tube, that might be just an act of karma waiting to bite you.
How to Change a Flat Tire : Flat Repair 101
If you have never changed a flat, or even seen the inside of your tire, you should spend some time at home getting used to this. You need a wrench to remove your tire from the bike, an event in of itself sometimes, as you can’t do it with the wheel attached to the frame. This is step one, and all bikes are different. Have some patience, and learn how to remove the wheel from the frame, both front and back.
Inspect your tire, for the puncture, and flat repair will begin with a visual analysis, and if you can’t locate the place to perform your flat repair, use a kids swimming pool, to locate where the bubbles are coming from. Any car repair shop has a tire sink that you can often times use from a kind helping hand. If your tire is still holding some air, remove it by pressing on the valve stem, as this will make it easier to remove the rubber from the rim.
Now use your tire levers to remove the rim from the rubber, and practice in this area makes perfect. It can be a bit tricky, but don’t give up! Using two, you can usually find a sweet spot that will set the rubber free. Gentle action on your flat repair, as you don’t want to increase your hole count on the balloon inside the tire.
Take the rubber off the rim, but keep the valve stem where it is, as who needs extra work in flat repair? Find and locate your hole, and make sure you inspect and reinspect your tube and inside of the rubber. Try to resist tossing your glass or nail into the road, as it could get you or another cyclist again. Keep searching for holes, and sticky items stuck in your tire and your tube. Remove everything, being careful about disposal of those items that created a need for flat repair.
This is where if you are in the middle of flat repair, you may decide that the extra tube you carry could be used. If this is the case, remove the tube, and replace, moving the stem through the rubber. This transition can be a little tricky, so it is always a good idea to take your time. Don’t lose the strip, that runs along the rim, that protects the tube from the rim. The rim strip is usually thin rubber or plastic, and if you get new rims, you can always use a new strip. Ask for it when you get the rim.
Find all the Hole and Shards in Flat Repair
If you find the offensive hole or holes, make sure you remove all the puncture items, and then sandpaper around each of the holes, taking off that shiny slippery surface about an inch around your break in your tube. The glue won’t stick to the shiny tube surface, so get it outta there. Flat tire repair needs this crucial step for removing the shiny surface, and then placing glue on this sandpapered area. Apply the glue, letting it dry around the hole. It should be no longer sticky or it isn’t dry. Let it dry!
Once it is dry, and it must be free of stickiness, find your patch, and peel it like a bandaid from the foil it is stuck to. Stick it over the hole, and the glue pressing hard. Your flat repair is almost done, but make sure you got all the holes, and that there are no bubbles around your hole. Now, you can place the tube back into the rubber, making sure the rim strip is safely surrounding the rim. Don’t force your tube in, but gently press it into place. Tire rubber can be tricky to get back onto the rim, but guide it gently and don’t use the tire levers to get all back into place. Add some air, to the tube if you must.
Once the rubber is back on the rim, pump in some air, and doing this slowly will prevent valve stem damage. Does the tube feel like it is holding air? If so, your flat repair is complete. Otherwise, you may need to remove the rubber, and find that blasted hole you missed.
If you skip any steps, you just delay your fun. Don’t be a ninny and skip looking for shards or prickly stuff that gave you the hole in the first place, and make sure the glue is dry before you place the patch on the hole. Flat repair is not that time consuming, and it will make you more confident as a cyclist if you can repair your own flat.