How to Fix a Flat Bicycle Tire

What You'll Need
Patch repair kit
Spare tube
Air pump
Set of tire levers

Discovering a flat tire is not only annoying, it can also cause delay to your plans if it arises at an inappropriate time. By knowing how to fix a flat bicycle tire, you can ensure that you can always remain on the move.

Step 1 – Problem Type

The manner in which you repair a flat tire will not only depend on the type of damage that it has sustained, but also on the time of day and the conditions that you find yourself in. You do not want to waste time replacing the tube if you are on your way home on a dark night in driving rain. This is why it is prudent to carry a spare tube as well as a tire repair kit.

If you find that the tire is flat after having been fine the previous day, you are likely to have a slow air leak that can be difficult to fix because the small puncture hole is often difficult to find. A larger puncture can be the cause if you find that your pedaling and/or steering becomes difficult during your ride and there is no other explanation.   

Step 2 – Inspect the Tire

As soon as you realize you have a problem, inspect the flat tire to find the cause so that you can rectify it. If it occurs whilst you are riding, get off the road and into a safe position; if it occurs in the darkness, make sure that you keep your lights on to enable others to see you.

Turn the bike over and prop it up on its handlebars and seat to check the tires. If the reason for the problem is not immediately evident, slowly rotate the tire to locate the source of the air leak; this could be anything from a tiny puncture to a slither of glass.

Step 3 – Repair Small Punctures

In the event that the reason for the flat tire can be found after a visual inspection and it is not close to the valve, you will find that you can repair it without needing to remove the tire. If necessary, keep your finger on the puncture so that you don’t lose track of it and use two tire levers between the tire and the rim to pry the two away from each other. This will allow you access to the point of damage so that you can use the repair kit to patch the tube in accordance with the instructions.   

Step 4 – Large Repair

If the reason for the flat tire is difficult to find or you simply have the time to replace the tube, the next step you need to take is to remove the tire. Start by removing the entire wheel completely before using the tire levers to separate the tire from the rim. Position the new tube in the tire so that the valve stem is in place first. This may be easier when there is a little air in it. Return the tire to the rim by hand before using the pump to re-inflate the tire.