How to Repair a Bicycle Puncture
Too often are perfectly fixable inner tubes replaced and bike rides ruined by a very easily repairable puncture. The following guide talks you through how to repair a puncture on the side of the road using tools that all bike users should carry with them.
1- Locate the cause and size of the puncture. If the tire is ‘proper f*@ked’ it will have to be replaced, but if it is a single small puncture, for instance a nail, it shouldn’t be too much effort to fix.
2- Turn the bike over so it is standing on the seat and handlebars. Make sure the weight isn’t resting on the brakes!
3- Look for anything sticking out of the tire, such as a nail, a screw, or a very sharp dog poo.
4- Let the remaining air out of the tube by pressing on the little pokey bit in the middle of the valve.
5- Take off the wheel. Back wheels are a little trickier due to the chain, but poke and pull at stuff until it loosens (as a gender we’re kinda good at that kind of thing no?!).
5- Use tire levers to remove the tire from the rim. Insert one between the rim and the tire and push down on the lever to lift the tire from the rim, then insert the second tire lever and run it around the rim to fully separate the tire, and therefor the inner tube, from the wheel.
6- Lift the tube out of the tire. Be careful with the valve.
7- Pump enough air into the tube to sufficiently inflate it in order to find the leak. The greater the pressure in the tube, the easier it is to find the hole (this is starting to read like “50 shades of Grey”!!).
8- Feel and listen for air escaping. If you’re struggling, hold part of the tube under water to see where the bubbles are escaping from.
9- Mark the location of the hole and once again remove the air from the tube.
10- Slightly sand the area around the hole. Most repair kits come with a small metal rasp to do this.
11- Spread a thin layer of glue around the puncture site. Allow the glue to dry until the glossy effect disappears. If you don’t have a patch, normal super glue could be used by itself as a ‘quick fix’ although it tends to take at least 8 hours to dry sufficiently to plug the hole.
12- Peel the plastic backing from the repair patch (should it have one). Be careful not to touch the adhesive surface, and place the sticky side on the tube, pressing it firmly in place. You will need to press the tube and the patch together pretty hard in order to get it to seal sufficiently.
13- Slide the tube back into the tire and ensure that the valve stem is aligned with the hole in the wheel rim.
14- Pry the inner tube and tire back onto the rim with the tyre lever, using an opposite motion to what you used to separate the parts originally.
15- Fix the wheel back onto he bike.
16- Re inflate the tire. Put away the tools and finish your ride.
Make sure you’re fixing your punctured tire somewhere out of the way and not in the middle of the road!