There’s nothing worse than being miles from home and suddenly you have a flat. Generally in Ireland this is accompanied with rain and wind and freezing cold hands just to make it tricky to replace that tube and get back on the bike. Speed is of the essence here, the longer you are standing in that rain getting that tube replaced the colder you’re getting and the grimmer it gets.
There’s a few ways to speed up the process and get back on the bike as fast as possible.
The first step is to turn the bike upside down, if the bike is turned up its balancing itself and it allows easier removal and reinstallation of the wheels.
Release the brake, on road bikes there is a small lever that can be pushed to widen the gap between the pads to allow the wheel to come out. With V Brakes you can unclip the cable and with disc brakes there’s nothing to worry about with the brake as the wheel will just pull up and out.
Undo the quick release skewer or undo the bolts, if there are bolts these generally require a 15mm spanner.
Now we can pull the wheel up and remove it from the frame. Once the wheel is removed, if you have disc brakes you need to be careful that the brake lever doesn’t get pulled, if it does the pistons will close in and not retract.
With the wheel out, grab your tyre levers and insert one into the tyre, just under the one side and pop the tyre off the rim, this lever can then be clipped to a spoke to hold the tyre off the rim. Another lever can then be placed a little way down from the one you have clipped in place, once this lever is in you can push it around the rim and remove the one side of the tyre from the rim.
At this stage the tube will be visible, you can remove it from the wheel and then check the tyre, run your fingers around the inside of the tyre looking for anything stuck in the tyre. If you miss this step there is a high chance that you will re-puncture as something stuck in the tyre will protrude back down and into a new tube, meaning you’ll have to do the whole thing all over again!
Slightly inflate the new tube just to give it enough shape to make it easier to sit into the tyre, push the valve in place in the rim and push the tube up inside the tyre.
Start to seat the tyre again, the important step here is making sure that the last section of the tyre that you seat back on to the rim is at the valve. This is so that the valve can be pushed up making sure that the tyre hasn’t been caught under the sidewall of the tire. The last section of the tyre to be re seated will always be the hardest and most likely to sit on top of the tube and then when inflated could cause the tube to blow the tyre off the rim and puncture again.
Some tyres will be extremely difficult to seat in the last section, Continental tyres are around the most difficult. If you are struggling to seat that last section the best thing to do is push your thumbs in to the tyre opposite the section you are trying to suit, push your thumbs down around the tyre till you reach the section to be seated, this will move any slack in the tyre to that section and make it much easier to seat.
It is very important that you don’t use tyre levers to re-seat the tyre, if you do there is a good chance you could catch the tube and cause a pinch puncture with the lever.
Once you have the tyre seated, you then just need to place the wheel back into the bike, making sure that it goes in centred and then tighten up the skewer or the bolts. Don’t forget to also re connect the brake!
Pump the tyre back up to the correct pressure, recommended pressures will always be found printed on the side wall of the tyre.