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Bicycle Mechanics Broken bottom bracket? Tacoed wheel? If you're having problems with your bicycle, or just need help fixing a flat, drop in here for the latest on bicycle mechanics & bicycle maintenance.

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Old 06-05-08, 01:16 PM   #1
jeremy_c
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My first flat

I was riding today and got a flat :-/ No tools, patch or tube to fix. Lucky I am new and was only on a 10 mile ride and was about 1 1/2m from home, so I walked the rest of the way.

The question I have is... A long, skinny rock poked through the tire into the tube. When I inspected it, I was able to pull the rock out but there is a small noticeable hole in the tire. Pumping the tire back up, the hole widens a bit as the air escapes. This is my first "real" bike (Trek 1500 2007). I of course rode as a kid BMX bikes, but that's different. Anyway, with this tire having a hole in it does the tire need replaced as well? I'd say 2 pins would slide through it easily, possibly three. Not even close for a thumb tack, you'd be widening the hole.

The tires are the stock ones, Bontrager Select B 700x25c.

Thanks,

Jeremy
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Old 06-05-08, 01:25 PM   #2
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Replace the inner tube, reinstall the tire and reinflate it to operating pressure.

If you can feel a bump or blister in the tire in the area of the puncture, or if you can see a tiny bubble of inner tube extruding through the tire, buy a new tire. Otherwise you're good-to-go.
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Old 06-05-08, 01:28 PM   #3
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I don't think you need to replace the tire. But, do the checking which RetroGrouch suggests.

If you are worried, you can slide a "boot" -- another layer of something strong -- in between the tire and tube at the point of the hole. A folded dollar bill, a piece of Tyvek or similar "house wrap", or just a 2-3" chunk of duct tape, sticky side on the inside of the tire, would do fine.

Spend the money you've saved on not buying a tire and outfit yourself with pump, tire "irons", patch kit, and a spare tube. [and under-seat bag to store them in, if you don't have such] Next rock might be be a longer walk away from home.

Last edited by moleman76; 06-05-08 at 01:35 PM.
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Old 06-05-08, 02:10 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by moleman76 View Post
Spend the money you've saved on not buying a tire and outfit yourself with pump, tire "irons", patch kit, and a spare tube. [and under-seat bag to store them in, if you don't have such] Next rock might be be a longer walk away from home.
I'm a strong believer in carrying a replacement inner tube with you even if you have ZERO mechanical ability and completely lack any ability to fix your own flats. If you ride any place where there is a significant number of cyclists, and if you have a replacement tube that matches your bike, you have an excellent chance that somebody will come by who is both willing and able to help you.

I can remember at least a couple of instances when I had so many offers to help that I wanted to scream: "I'm a bike mechanic! Leave me alone and let me fix it!"
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Old 06-05-08, 02:20 PM   #5
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Had my first flat today as well. I've done over 2,000 miles in the 9 months I've been back to riding and I knew it was bound to happen sometime. I had a tube, levers and pump but when I checked the tire, it had a 1/2" wide cut across the tread. As I hadn't thought of carrying anthing to use as a boot, I was unable to make a serviceable repair (probably could have at least made it back home if I had something to boot it with). Guess that is one more thing to add to the kit.
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Old 06-06-08, 09:54 AM   #6
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I've helped people out a bunch of times. It's neighborliness. But no amount of goodwill will replace a tube when you don't have a tube.
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Old 06-06-08, 10:16 AM   #7
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Suitable tire boot materials include a piece of a "Tyvek" mailing envelope, nylon pack cloth, a section of an old tire with the beads cut off, and, in an extreme emergency, a dollar bill or the mylar wrapper from an energy bar. I always carry a piece of heavy nylon cloth in my seat bag just for that use.

Salvaging a tire with a moderate puncture hole but not a large cut can be done by gluing a tube patch to the inside of the tire over the hole. This closes up the hole and reinforces it enough that the tube won't bulge through.
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