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Fixing a flat(26 posts)

Fixing a flatdagnelson
Oct 30, 2001 6:11 AM
Hi, I am not new to biking but I just got a road bike and probably will do some riding all by myself, and need to know how to fix a flat. So far, in my 25-year biking career, I have never had a flat away from home or a bike shop (and alltogether only had no more than 5 flats in my life).Now I am paranoid that it happens 30 miles out in the middle of nowhere. Can someone give me a brief description on how to fix a flat? (I am not afraid to ask the dumb questions!) - A little manual to take on the road with me would be nice... Also, what should I get to be prepared: A Trek "flat pack" costs $ 50 and contains a small pump, patches, etc. Or is it better to buy a spare tube, should I carry tube AND patches, what patches, which pump? I don't want to carry too much...but want to have what's essential.
Another question: How do you take the reflectors off the spokes?
Thanks, Dagmar
everything you wanted to know about beer, er, flats, but...Js Haiku Shop
Oct 30, 2001 6:22 AM
check this link:

there's lots of other good stuff on his site for base cycling knowledge...i'm still learning from it, and suspect i will for some time!

don't spend $50. get:

$3 patch kit (the kind with glue, not the kind that's glueless)

$4 tire levers (2 or 3 should cost a total of $4-$6)

$3 tube ($3 each, but carry more than one)

$? pump (depends on how you carry, what you buy, etc.)

$? tire boot (piece of old tire or a dollar bill to use if you get a large cut in the tire)

$cheap co2 cartridges, if you're using an inflator instead of a pump

important: use all this stuff at home a couple times to be sure you know how to change your tube. don't learn on the road. it's too late then.

important: make sure you have the right type of tube (presta or shrader valve, and right tube size for tire size)

good luck.

ps. reflectors come off the spokes by turning the thingy in the center with a flathead screwdriver and taking the reflector off gently (don't bend the spoke). failing that, use a wire cutter or lineman's pliers to cut them off.
pps: a good place to store your spare reflectors...Js Haiku Shop
Oct 30, 2001 6:25 AM
is on your cruiser (rear wheel).
pps: a good place to store your spare reflectors...dagnelson
Oct 30, 2001 8:14 AM
I don't have a cruiser, but that's cool!
SimplifyKerry Irons
Oct 30, 2001 5:30 PM
Unless you ride in rough territory, more than one flat per ride would be unusual. I carry 2 tire irons, one tube, a few Park glueless patches, a few square inches of Tyvek, and a frame pump. The Park patches are not a permanent fix, but if you get a rare 2nd flat, they will get you home. A regular patch kit will do you no good if the weather is wet, and who wants to wait around for the glue to dry? The Tyvek (the white "plastic paper" used for FedEx envelopes) is for booting a tire cut, weighs virtually nothing, and takes up no space. Paper money works for this as well. As others said, practice the tire change at home, and always match the hole in the tube with the tire so you can find what puncture the tube. The easy way to do this is to mount the tire with the label right at the valve hole.
re: Fixing a flatJohn-d
Oct 30, 2001 7:07 AM
My solution to the problem was to buy a 'Dirt Monkey' wedge pack that fits just under the saddle. They come in a variety of sizes from small to quite large and handy for the day tour.

I have two, they both fit on the same clip, one on each bike, just grab the bike and bag, clip on and go. For training rides my small one is just big enough to cram in a light weight shower top, a multi tool, spare tube and three tyre levers.

For emergency back up, if you buy 'Ground Effect' clothing, with it comes a secret sewn in patch, very, very useful. Otherwise a self-adhesive patch for back up.

For day tours I use the larger one with two spare tubes and all the other lumber that you think you need.

I also have a mini-pump that fits neatly on a bracket that attaches to the bottle carrier bosses along with the bottle carrier.
re: Fixing a flatmarlies
Oct 30, 2001 7:32 AM
I suppose you mean by roadbike a race bike, am I right? (sorry, I'm from holland, we call it a race-fiets) When I am out with my bike, I put one or two spare tubes in the back of my bike-shirt, and I take some 'opwippers', so I can take the flat one out of the wheel. don't take patches and stuff, there's no need for that, you can always fix the flat ones back home. For next time. (but do it good! It's easier to buy a new one!) And third thing I take with me is a small pump, but I have a special one which I have fixed on my bike-frame. And: never forget to eat and drink during racing! (I'm not afraid to give dumb advice, that everybody knows already hehe)
re: Fixing a flatdagnelson
Oct 30, 2001 8:18 AM
Yes, that's what it is, a "Rennrad" (I am originally from Germany). Looks like this is the way to go - 2 tubes, the tire levers, and a small pump that's worth something.

Thanks for all the advice, everyone! Dagmar
no need for patches? hmmm...Js Haiku Shop
Oct 30, 2001 8:25 AM
carrying two spare tubes, ever had a flat, discovered your primary spare was punctured or defective, used your second (backup) spare, then had another flat? walking is NO fun.
no need for patches? hmmm...marlies
Oct 30, 2001 8:38 AM
That's what I call bad luck. hehe. VERY bad luck. maybe take a mobile phone or some coins with call for heeeeeeellllppp ;)
bad luck, bad roads,...many factors, but don't be without...Js Haiku Shop
Oct 30, 2001 8:50 AM
and being self-sufficient is a good thing. it's not only possible that one of your spares could be defective or already have a puncture from storage, shipping, whatever, but what if you have a tac or piece of garbage lodged in your tire that you miss when changing the tube? what if you run over more than one bad spot in the road and have multiple flats? what if...what if...what if. there's a point of overkill where eccentricity comes into play, i.e. carrying three tubes (done that), but the ultimate truth here: the longer (time and distance) you ride, the more likely you are to suffer a larger quantity of punctures. i'd much rather carry the right stuff to fix the problem on the spot than call for a ride and wait on the side of the road. then again, i'm a little obsessive.

by the way, i've saved a few people's outings (on group/club rides) with my SECOND spare tube. either they don't have the right tube, forgot it, the tube has been in their pack for seven years and is dry rotted, or they twist the valve pumping it up and that can't be patched. that left me with one spare and a patch kit.
Oct 30, 2001 10:26 AM
I always pack two extra beers, wait I meant tubes. I don't mess with trying to patch a tube on the road, I just install a new tube. I patch the punctured tube when I get home and use it for a spare. I do carry a patch kit because I have experienced two flats on one ride. If I have three flats and run out of patches then I just drink the two beers and walk home. If I have a lot of new tubes in stock I don't mess with trying to repair them, I just chuck the punctured tube. I don't do this very often though as it runs into my beer money..
other uses for old tubes...anyone? nmJs Haiku Shop
Oct 30, 2001 11:13 AM
Polish prophylactic? (absolutly no msg :)breck
Oct 30, 2001 11:29 AM
Except size does count :)

bgcc! (bubble gum cigar club:)
Mickey's wide mouth beer botts ???breck
Oct 30, 2001 11:17 AM
The used bott could be helpful for storing bike "stuff" :)

hay while i have your attention check out :
if you have not already.

Oct 30, 2001 9:31 AM
Well... I guess it doesn't sound as alien as "bandenlichters", but I've never heard them called that before...
Riding on the "flats" ...breck
Oct 30, 2001 8:50 AM
Though it ain't recommended you can actually ride the road bike with a flat tube, at least if it is the front tire/tube. Found out the hard way as my new mini get-home pocket pump would not air up the smooth barreled presta spare. So as not to have to walk back pushing the bike on the flat desolate stretch of S22 between Borrego and the Salton Sea me rode the bike keeping the tire centered on the wheel for the seven or so miles back to the truck at an estimated (no computer :) 10 or so mph .

All that happened was the stem got pulled into the rim cavity and this was the cause of the cyclical thump that began after a few miles. More importantly the tire never came off the rim and the Conti GP 3000 was not damaged. The rim is a 28 db spoke'd Mavic Open Pro with Al nipps and showed no signs of damage though did re-true the wheel, etc.

Am a minimalist for repair kit :)

Oct 30, 2001 9:10 AM
As a matter of fact...RUN from the flat pack. Really, don't waiste your money. I've already broken two of the levers--appearantly the pack includes some sort of bad luck that's not listed under "contents". And the pump...well, just build your upper body strength! I'm not boasting about biceps here, and I am a girl, but I couldn't get the tires past 60 PSI. 60 is not enough! If nothing else, ask the store if you can test drive the pump before buying it. Try it right there in the store. I found it to be a clumbsy little device. The patchs sucked too. But I think the seat bag is tremendous and use it on every ride!

P.S. I paid about $30 for the Trek Flat Pack. $50 sounds a bit steep.
to that, i say: CO2. nm.Js Haiku Shop
Oct 30, 2001 11:18 AM
Yep...did that! Just avoid the AirChamp (sucks too)Kristin
Oct 30, 2001 11:23 AM
well, at least it doesn't blow very well. I'm not sure what's wrong with the thing, but I've used it only 4 times. Last week it took 4 cartridges to fill one tire part way. I was only 0.68 miles from my house and late for a meeting!!!!!

I think that a seal inside has slipped. I get more CO2 inside the container than I do in my tire. I'll be searching on CO2 pump threads later and purchasing another brand on Friday.
[ahem] here ya go!Js Haiku Shop
Oct 30, 2001 11:29 AM
last year's innovations second wind at nashbar, $9.99

liked the first one so much, i bought a second. carry one in the seatpack of both road bikes. it's a mini-pump, too, in case. i wouldn't think the hand-feature would work too well for more than 50-60 psi, though.
Five flats in 25 years? We should be asking you for advice. (nm)Elefantino
Oct 30, 2001 9:16 AM
re: If all else fails!Softrider
Oct 30, 2001 10:09 AM
If all else fails, be sure that you have a tool that will remove the cleats from your riding shoes. There is nothing like a 5 mile walk home wearing cleated shoes!
stuff the tire with grass an shite...It'll get ya slow home (nm)128
Oct 30, 2001 10:38 AM
CO2 is a good idea!Dutchy
Oct 30, 2001 3:45 PM
After years of carrying around my Zefal mini-pump, I actually had to use it last week while out on the road.
I have used the pump before on MTB's but only 2-3 times on my road bike.
When I used it last week I struggled to get 60psi in the tyres, so I have now bought a CO2 system.
I haven't used it yet but in theory it should be good for 100psi.
re: Fixing a flatAndy M-S
Oct 31, 2001 2:20 AM
Here's what you absolutely need to put into a small saddlebag ("wedge"):

One sutiable tube, protected in a sock (the sock is good for cleaning your hands afterwards). One small patch kit (the kind your LBS sells for $2.00 or so). One QuikStik or similar single-lever tire removal tool--or a set of strong plastic levers, but the QS is better. $5 or so in $1 bills (useful for emergency money, and can also be used to boot your tires in an emergency). $1.00 or so in change (stuff it into the flat kit--good for payphones). One energy bar. That should all fit into a tiny JandD bag.

In addition, throw away the CO2 and minipumps--if your bike has a pump peg, get a Zefal hPX pump. If it doesn't have a pump peg, see if you can adapt one. There is no substitute for a full-size frame pump when you need to get your tires to 100+ PSI.