Biking and cycling is one of the favorite hobbies of the new generation. It is a user-friendly activity, and just about anybody can do it regardless of gender or financial status. Biking is a popular activity specifically because of two important reasons: first, it is an excellent way of keeping fit; second, it is a cheap and effective means of transportation.
However, as I found many times, cycling does have its set of drawbacks. One of the most annoying is getting a flat tire. For new cyclists, getting a tire punctured is a very stressful event, particularly in very uncomfortable times and places. If you do not know how to perform a basic tire repair, then you could be in trouble on the road when the situation arises. On the other hand, if you know how to do fix minor tire repairs, then it would be an entirely different story.
So, what are the things that you need to do in fixing a flat tire?
Here are the steps:
1. The first thing that you need to do is to locate the puncture. Is it in the front? Or the back? Normally, it is easy to spot where the puncture is. When there are small and repairable punctures on one or two of your tires, you would be able to see objects protruding from the punctures site. There would be nails, pins, thorns, sharp bones, and many others. If the puncture is a small one, then you can fix the said tire. However, if the damage is big, or if the tire has been blown out, then you need to replace the tire interior entirely. It is for this reason that you always need to bring with you a spare interior for these emergency occasions.
2. Once you have found the exact location of the puncture, you now need to position the bike so it is easier for you to remove the damaged tire from the rest of the bike. You have to understand that, in order to perform this operation, you need to remove the interior from the tire body. It is not the outside surface of the tire, or the exterior, that needs to be fixed. It is the air-filled circular rubber lodged in between the rim and the exterior that needs the fixing. Now, removing this is pretty tricky. That is why you need to position the bike properly. Sometimes it’s best to turn the bike over in order to be able to spot where the damage is, and then remove the tire with wheel with the damaged tire. From here, the rest is a walk in the park.
3. On finding the damaged tire, you now need to extract the broken interior. To do this, you first need to remove the air from that interior. Basically, while the tire is currently flat, it still contains substantial amount of air so as to make its extraction difficult if not utterly impossible. To be able to extract the interior, you need to remove all the air by depressing the Schrader valve stem – the protruding part of the tire rim where the air goes in. There are two ways to do this: first, you can use a specialized depressing tool known as a tire valve tool; this completely drains out the air from the interior; and the second is by simply pressing on the small metal cap using a ballpen or anything pointed.
4. Once air has been drained out of the interior, it is now time to pry out the interior from the rim. Now, this is perhaps the trickiest part, arguably speaking. Here is how to do this part….Using tire levers – or any material that can be used as levers (like screw drivers) – expose the interior by putting these levers to split open the gap between the exterior and the rim. Once the levers are lodged, apply enough pressure so as to expose the interior even more. You need to pry the tire loose entirely from the rim in order to make the needed repairs. Once the interior is exposed, and once there is enough opening between the rim and the exterior, slowly pull out the interior. Make sure that the said interior does not hang from the frame of the bike.
5. Having isolated the interior from the rest of the tire frame does not automatically mean that you will be able to spot the exact place of rupture. Indeed, this is a very complicated task by itself. But, you can simplify this by putting air on your interior. Once you have pumped enough air, put the interior into water to easily find the hole (obviously, bubbles will escape from the punctured part). If there is no such supply of abundant water, you can just put the interior close to your air and listen for escaping air.
6. Once you have found the hole, mark it with any kind of marker. You can easily lose this part if you do not apply any markings to it. Once you applied the needed markings, compress the interior in order to drive out the air.
7. The next steps are probably the most important. However, to be able to do this, you need to have a tire mending kit. Without this kit, doing this procedure is but impossible.First, you need to put a buff on the puncture. Then you need to apply a strong adhesive or patch glue. Wait for a couple of minutes for the patch glue to dry. Finally, get the patch from your mending kit, peel it carefully, and then apply the sticky part to the punctured portion. Make sure that the buffed portion is absolutely free from any kind of debris as these can cause the patch to dislodge. I also recommend a good multitool to carry with you.
8. Last step!….Slide the interior back to the tire. Make sure that the valve stem is properly upright before you pump air. Once this is done, put enough air pressure.
Again, we have to remember that if the damage to the tire is significant, or if the puncture is more than an inch then do not waste your time and energy fixing the tire. At this point, having a spare tire would truly save you!