Fixing a Flat: the road rider’s guide

If you ride your bike, eventually either you or someone you are riding with will have a flat. I’m not wishing you ill; it’s just statistically inevitable. So, do you know how to fix a flat? Here’s a step by step procedure. Have someone show you how to do this if you’ve never done it before, then do it yourself, in front of them. Print this out and take it with you if you never fixed a flat:

FIXING A FLAT
0. Have Your Flat Kit With You… because, all the knowledge in the world won’t mean a thing without your, um, bike pump, for example.

FLAT KIT – Bike pump (or 2 CO2 canisters and value attachment), 2 tires, 2 tire levers , patch kit, multi-tool, and disposible latex gloves.

1. Inspect the outside of the tire, to see if you can find what might have caused the flat. Road tires are pretty smooth, so by rubbing a finger gently again the outside of the tire, you might detect a piece of a thorn, glass, or radial tire wire*.

1. Take the valve cap and nut (if presta) off, and deflate the tire the rest of the way. This will make it easier to the wheel off of the bike, and make the bead easier to take off of the rim.

2. Removing the Tire

Undo the brake caliper – that’s the little tab on the side of the brakes. Undo and loosen the quick release skewer. If it is the front tire simply remove the wheel from the bike.
 
If the rear tire is flat, make sure that you are in the highest gear (that’s the gear that has the largest chainring and the smallest cog). This will put the chain in a position toward the outside of the bike. Now, remove the wheel (which may require grabbing the chain to move it out of the way- aren’t you glad you’ve got your latex gloves?).

3. Removing the bead from the rim

Pushing the bead back a bit with your finger, wedge your tire iron underneath the the bead, and pull it over the rim. Use 2 tire levers if it is on very tightly (Pedro’s are my favs). Hold the part of the bead that is over the rim with your thumb, push the tire lever away from you, prying the bead away from the rim. Remove the inner tube. Check the tire for debris, such as thorns glass or radial tire wires*.

4. Put in the new inner tube

Blow up the new inner tube slightly just to give it some form. Place the inner tube inside the tire.

5. Put the bead back on the rim

Starting from the valve, hook the bead back onto the rim. Be careful not to pinch the inner tube in between the rim and the bead. To get the last bit on, push the rubber from the tire towards the area that you are working, in order to give it some slack. Using either your thumbs or tire lever, hook the last part over the rim. Pump the tire up the rest of the way

6. Reseat the Wheel onto your bike

Put the wheel back on the bike, making sure that the skewer is seated properly.

7. Tighten and close the quick release skewer.

8. Close the brake caliper. Check your work. Ride on.

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