Fixing a puncture

Fixing a punctureIt’s generally faster to fix a puncture and get rolling again than to phone and wait for help. Fixing punctures is simple – once you know how and have some practice.

I don’t have space to take you through the process step-by-step – that’s best done by a friend or your local bike shop. But I can give you a few tips to keep in mind.

What should you carry? At least one spare tube. It’s much faster to just replace a tube than try to find and fix a hole on the side of the road. (Plenty of time for that at home.) Do throw in a mini patch kit, just in case you’re unlucky enough to get two punctures.

At least two tyre levers make the job easier if you don’t have strong hands or your tyres are hard to get on and off. You’ll need a small spanner too if you don’t have quick-release wheels.

Don’t forget a pump. Some people also carry small canisters of compressed CO2. Inflating a tyre that way is almost instantaneous.

What do you need to keep in mind? Relax and take your time for a start. That will make the job easier. Make sure you are in a safe place well off the road verge. You are very vulnerable if you’re close to the traffic.

If it’s a rear puncture, shift the chain onto the smallest sprocket before you take the wheel out. This makes it easier to get off and back on again. You may need to release your brakes to get the inflated wheel back in.

Once you have your wheel off, let the last of air out by squeezing the valve – makes it easier to get the tyre off. Roll the tyre off one side of the wheel using your thumbs or tyre levers. Pull the valve out first and then pull out the rest of the tube.

Now, the really, really important bit. Check the inside and outside of your tyre to find the culprit. Be careful – it punctured your tube it could puncture you too. Once you find it – quartz, glass, wire – pull it out. Skip this bit and you’ll be back on the side of the road with a flat tyre again.

Once you get the wheel back in, lift it off the ground, spin it and test the brakes to make sure they’re working and they’re not rubbing on your wheel.

See you on the road soon, God willing.

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