It’s a beautiful day in sunny San Diego and you decide it’s a good day for a bike ride. But when you go into the garage, your bicycle is slumped forward, resting on a sad pile of deflated rubber. You’ve got a flat – but don’t let that stop you from getting out there! You don’t need to take your bike to a repair shop for a flat tire. Here’s a DIY guide to get your bike back up and running.
What you need: an adjustable wrench, chalk, two tire irons, a bike pump, a bucket, a tire pressure gauge, rags, a tire patch kit, talcum powder and about 30 minutes.
- Remove the wheel from the bike, using the wrench to loosen the nuts holding the wheel to the bike. If it’s a back tire of a single, 3- or 5-speed bike, use the wrench to remove the break band from the lower frame of the bike before removing the tire.
- Inspect the tire for sharp objects that might’ve caused the flat. Mark any damage with chalk and then remove the tire from the rim using your hand or a bike tire iron.
- Pump the tire tube until it is firm and then submerge it in water to spot bubbles, indicating an air leak. Dry the tube and mark with chalk where the bubbles were coming from.
- Using the roughing device provided in your tire patch kit, scrape the damaged part of the tube to clean it and to create a rough surface for the patch to adhere to. As directed by the kit instructions, apply adhesive to the damaged area and press the patch firmly over the source of the leak. Make sure the edges are entirely bonded and wait five minutes for it to dry. Once it is dry, sprinkle talcum powder on the patch so it won’t adhere to the inside of the tire.
- Deflate the tire tube and put it back onto the rim, making sure not to pinch the tube between the tire and the rim.
- Pump the tire up to the appropriate pressure as indicated by the pressure gauge. Allow the tire to sit for a few minutes to ensure it is holding air, and then reattach it to the bicycle.