Flatting. It happens to every cyclist. You’re gliding through the ride of your life – and all of the sudden something is not right.
Often at the worst possible time.
For inner tubes there are pre-glued patches available – peel and stick. But nothing works as well as an old fashioned patch kit. If you’re prepared with a little dexterity and the right stuff, you can be back on the road in no time.
What you’ll need:
- mini pump
- patch kit – patches, compound, scuffer
- tire lever
1) Take it apart
With your tool kit handy, remove your wheel and completely deflate the inner tube. Using the tire lever, remove the tire from the rim, then remove the inner tube. If it’s Presta, you’ll need to remove the stem ring.
2) Find the problem
With your hand pump add a few pounds and listen for the leak. If it’s a snakebite, or pinch flat, there will be two obvious incisions close together and the air will pour right out of them. Smaller, independent punctures may be harder to detect, so run the tube through your hands holding it close to your nose and lips and you’ll find them faster. Have your scuffer ready to mark the spot.
By scoring, or scuffing the surface, you’ll prepare the tube to better react with the compound. Lightly scuff the surface area around the hole or incisions. Select the best patch size you have for the job and scuff an area just a bit bigger than that.
4) Weld it
The glue is really a compound that melts the inner tube so it welds, as in chemically bonds, to the patch when it is applied. This step is crucial, and where most mistakes are made.
Apply a nickel-sized dollop of compound to the scuffed area and spread it around. You want the patch to fit within the applied compound. Don’t worry, it won’t melt your finger unless you’re made of rubber.
5) Under pressure
With the glue still shiny wet and beginning to dry, apply the patch with ample pressure. Hold for about two minutes, evenly distributing pressure around the entire patch. Now let it set for about three to five minutes. Have a snack. Take a selfie.
Tips: Take care of your inner tubes. Avoid exposing them to more contaminates and debris when you’re in the field. Unless you want to do this again in a few miles, keep it clean. Check the inside of your tire for sharp, pointy things. To make remounting the tire easier, add a few pounds of pressure to the inner tube.
Finally, we like to put the wheel back on the bike and then pump.