Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Philadelphia suburb
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If you are not already aware of Sheldon Brown's web site, you should check out this wonderful resource, as he usually has an answer and explanation for most questions: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/flats.html
. If you are a fairly new cyclist, as your questions suggest, you may want to noodle around that web site for a general education.
As for question #3, I lay my bike down on the ground with the derailleur side up; it's not that
fragile! That way, I don't run the risk of it falling over, which can happen if it were upside down. I've also noticed that people who rest their bikes upside down tend to remount the wheel--particularly the rear--with the bike still in that position, which some people find disorienting.
Lastly, if you are not experienced in removing wheels and replacing tubes, practice at home, where it's warm and cozy and you're under no stress to perform quickly!