If you’re intimidated at the idea of having to fix a flat tire on your own, it’s time to get over it. Repairing a flat can be easy and quick when you know the simple steps.
- First, you’ll need to remove your wheel. Most people are comfortable removing a front wheel. The rear wheel, however, all wound up in the chain and somehow linked to the derailleur, can seem a bit complicated. It’s not really hard at all. Take a look at the video below. It will show exactly how easy it is to remove and re-install your rear wheel… the first and last steps of fixing a flat tire. Watch it once or twice an you’ll know how to get your rear wheel off in 20 seconds or less… without any tools.
- For the second step, you’ll need some basic tools and supplies. A set of tire levers, like the ones shown below, are inexpensive and light. You should carry a set in your saddle bag. Click on the picture to find and buy them online at an awesome price. You should also have a spare tube in your saddle bag… unless you’re one of those die-hard fix-everything geeks who prefer to carry a patch kit. For about $4.50, I prefer to put a fresh tube inside my wheel after a flat. You’ll also need a bicycle pump. On the road you may be working with a portable pump that mounts somewhere to your frame. At home, I prefer a pump with an accurate pressure gauge. When I fix a tire on the road, I’ll pressurize the tire by feel, then check it with the gauge pump when I’m back home or at my car.
Now you’re ready to pull the damaged tube and replace it with some fresh rubber. The video below will show you how to open one side of the tire, remove the damaged tube, check for objects that could ruin your new tube, and close the tire up with a new tube in place. This is a three- to five-minute operation once you know how to use the levers properly.
- Now finish up with step three… re-installing the wheel. Once you have enough air in your tire to get back on the road, you’re ready to re-install the wheel. Now that you’ve watched the first video in this post, you know that re-installing the wheel is easy. Go back to that video and watch the last minute again, from 1:57 to the end. Practice once or twice and you’ll practically be an expert.
That’s really all there is to it. If you have any additional thoughts that might make a tire change faster, easier, or more reliable, please add a comment.