Every road cyclist knows about them, and every road cyclist hates them: flat tires. Whether you want to admit it or not, flats are as much a part of cycling as adrenaline-filled descents and sore quads.
Fortunately, flat tires don’t have to ruin your rides. Use the tips below to learn how to change a flat quickly and successfully so you can get back to enjoying the open road.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Things You’ll Need:
- At least two tire levers Bicycle pump Tube
- At least two tire levers
- Bicycle pump
Remove the wheel from the bicycle. If the flat tire is on the rear wheel, be sure to set your chain in the smallest gear before removing the wheel. You can accomplish this simply by shifting into that gear while cranking the pedals with your hands and holding the frame above the ground so the rear wheel can spin. Also, make sure you release the brakes before removing the flat tire so as to avoid unnecessary rubbing between the brake pads and the wheels. You can place the frame aside, since you will not need it until you have finished fixing the flat.
Loosen the tire from the wheel. Gently slide two tire levers between the tire and the wheel. The best spot to do this is directly opposite the tube valve, so you avoid ripping the valve from the tube. Clip the hook at the bottom of one lever to a spoke while you grab the other lever and gently pull it along the circumference of the wheel to loosen the tire from the wheel. You do not need to completely remove the tire–as long as you can safely remove the tube, you can leave the tire half on the wheel.
Gently remove the tube. Again, start at the spot directly opposite the valve when removing the tube. Softly pull the tube from under the tire and push out the valve so that it is completely removed from the wheel.
Check for the puncture. Severalthings can cause flat tires; therefore, you must be thorough when looking for what deflated your tube. Run your fingers under the tire to feel for something sharp. Inspect the outside of the tire for shards of glass or thorns. If you can’t find the puncture by looking at the tire, pump the damaged tube until you can hear the air escaping from the hole. Locate the puncture and identify the corresponding location on the tire. If you still can’t find the hole, don’t panic–sometimes a sharp object can poke your tire without sticking to it.
Place a repaired or new tube on the wheel. Gently tuck the tube under the tire so that it rests flat on the wheel. Start by inserting the valve through the hole in the wheel and work around the circumference. Make sure the tube is not pinched or folded—if it is, you will quickly get another flat when you pump it up.
Secure the tire back on the wheel. Using your thumbs, tuck the tire so it sits back on the wheel. Work in opposite directions so that the opposite side of the tire doesn’t dislodge. You might need to use your tire levers to get the last part of the tire back on the wheel.
Pump the tire. If you’re on a ride and don’t have a floor pump, have a friend hold the tire while you pump it.
Put the wheel back on the frame. And make sure to secure your brakes before you start pedaling!
Tips & Warnings
- Make sure you pack all the tools necessary to change a flat tire when going on a ride. Nothing is worse than getting a flat and not having the means to repair it. Also, it’s wise to pack more than one tube and a patch kit when riding for several hours. You can’t predict how many flats you might get.
- Make sure you pack all the tools necessary to change a flat tire when going on a ride. Nothing is worse than getting a flat and not having the means to repair it.
- Also, it’s wise to pack more than one tube and a patch kit when riding for several hours. You can’t predict how many flats you might get.