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Old 01-15-08, 08:37 AM   #1
Litespeed
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Can you change your own flat?

My husband has run across a few guys who can't change their own flats. They just call someone to pick them up and take them to the bike shop. I figured I had to learn or stay stuck riding on our street forever. I'm wondering if any men would really admit that they can't change a flat.
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Old 01-15-08, 08:42 AM   #2
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I started driving at 16 on my own and my father said you have to learn to change your own flats or don't drive. I feel it's should be the same way on a bike.
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Old 01-15-08, 08:45 AM   #3
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I would suspect the 'man' part if you could not fix a flat on a car or a bike.
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Old 01-15-08, 08:51 AM   #4
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It seems ludicrous to leave home relatively "naked" compared to drivers-- vulnerable to a lot of things....end up far away from security-- and not be able to be self-contained enough to spend a few minutes at a simple task. Part of the pleasure of riding is being far from home and self-sufficiently on your own.

At the risk of sounding elitist.....Real Cyclists aren't necessarily marked by carbon spoke nipples or $150 shorts.......but they surely can and do fix their own flats.
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Old 01-15-08, 08:56 AM   #5
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I've learned to carry tools, a pump, a spare tube (2-3 when on asphalt)...it's a long walk if you don't.

I had two flats last Friday (loose nipple wore through the tape...didn't catch it until flat#2) riding around the city..luckily I had that 2'nd tube
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Old 01-15-08, 09:09 AM   #6
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I met a guy the other day who carried no tools or spares. I just find that hard to understand.
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Old 01-15-08, 09:11 AM   #7
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Not only will I change my own but I carry sufficient tools to stop and render assistance to most on the trails/roads. Its routine on summer weekend rides to stop to fix dropped chains (your right, some are just not going to get dirty hands), flat tires, minor tuneups on bikes that have stopped shifting??, guided tours to riders who have no idea where they are etc.
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Old 01-15-08, 09:29 AM   #8
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I met a guy the other day who carried no tools or spares. I just find that hard to understand.
I don't either. My philosophy is that a bike should be reliable enough not to need a passle of tools for field repairs, and I've set it up with this in mind. I'm not alone. Look at pictures of commuters in Beijing or Amsterdam, and try to find the tools.

I haven't had any flats for five years and over 10,000 miles. With those odds, it's easier just to flag down a cab and take the thing to the bike shop. I normally ride in a suit and tie and don't want to tinker away by the roadside getting my clothing dirty.

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Old 01-15-08, 09:58 AM   #9
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One good thing about being able to fix a flat is that you can help others fix theirs. Somebody on this board suggested carrying a few tools, some spare tubes, a patch kit and a pump in your car to help disabled cyclists. I thought it was such a good idea that I started doing it myself.
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Old 01-15-08, 10:05 AM   #10
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I can change flats on both my bikes and cars. No one in my household was allowed to get a driver's license until they could demonstrate how to change a flat. While I perfer to change my own flats on my bikes, I'm not crazy about doing it on my cars any longer. I do it, but complain the entire time. I also know how to put a new clutch in, but have no interest in doing this either. Hence, I do understand folks who choose not to do mechanical things. I figure there are folks out there who like to ride, but fixing things is just not worth the hassle to them. Others never learned, and might think its not important or that they can't learn. Finally, I remember chaning my first flax using a screwdriver as a tire lever. I believe I went through three tubes before I realized screwdrivers were not a good choice for that particular application.
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Old 01-15-08, 10:06 AM   #11
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I have a bike butler.
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Old 01-15-08, 10:14 AM   #12
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I once broke a chain, I was lucky enough to be very close from an LBS when it happened. Since I always carry a chain tool with a couple chain links, a spare tube with patches and a CO2 pump w/ 3 cartridges, a spoke tool, and a couple hex wrenches.

The spoke tool became handy 20 miles from the end of a very hilly century. I had done all the climbing (10,000') and only had a very long descent and some flat to finish. At 40+ mph a spoke broke from my rear wheel, the wheel was locked against the seatstay and couldn't rotate. The spoke tool allowed me to loosen a couple spokes on the non-broken side of the wheel and allowed the wheel to turn again. I was able to finish the ride on a bumpy but working wheel and it saved my day.

Being self-sufficient is the essence of cycling, we use our own power to travel and we use our own hands to fix things.
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Old 01-15-08, 10:15 AM   #13
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I think you mean cars don't have inner tubes anymore. Bikes have clinchers which requires inner tubes. Cars are different than bikes. You really don't "fix a flat" on cars anymore. Old school.
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Old 01-15-08, 10:17 AM   #14
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Old 01-15-08, 10:18 AM   #15
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Yikes, everyone should just learn to change out a bicycle tire tube when they start to ride. Preferable in your basement.

Two incidents come to mind. Went on a rail to trail ride several years ago. Did not take a repair kit or tube. Of course got a flat - 7 miles from my car! It is a long walk in bike shoes. A good samaritan cut my walk by a couple of miles.

On a charity ride, raining like cats and dogs. Saw more flats than I have ever seen. One guy had 3! Anyway my riding partner got a flat. Pulls a CO2 cartridge out of his bag. I ask where is the device to get the stuff in the tire? Says that Joe(who was not on the ride but usually part of our group) usually has one. Anyway he had a small pump and we got on our way.
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Old 01-15-08, 10:19 AM   #16
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I just grab a bike from my domestique, or the team car if it's close.

Really, flats: no big deal. Just fix 'em. Can't imagine not having a tube, a few patches and a pump. Can't imagine just phoning home for a ride (though one glass hell of a night night I got three flats on my way home, ran out of tubes and patches and did call home....really embarrassed. I now carry more patches than I'll ever use in one ride)
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Old 01-15-08, 10:28 AM   #17
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I view flatting as a minor inconvenience, kind of like breaking a shoelace on a hike. I would advise practice at home for anyone who wants to learn.
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Old 01-15-08, 10:32 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Litespeed View Post
I'm wondering if any men would really admit that they can't change a flat.

I won't admit it.

After my first flat, I rode the bike all the way home with a flat front tire. But then again, I was only 8 or 9.

It's very rare that I go anywhere without a flat kit. The Zefal HPX pump is great for worrying authority figures such as court security guards when I go in to serve jury duty. Even after they disassemble it, they don't trust it.

Fixing flats takes so little time. I look at it as a short break, a chance to look around while the glue sets. I used to have an employer who had a zero lateness tolerance. I rode in 15 minutes early to give myself time just in case, and never was late.
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Old 01-15-08, 10:41 AM   #19
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The Zefal HPX pump is great for worrying authority figures such as court security guards when I go in to serve jury duty. Even after they disassemble it, they don't trust it.
I can picture that scene. Kinda like a monkey with a football.
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Old 01-15-08, 10:42 AM   #20
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I always have the stuff to fix several flats. One extra tube and after that, patches. CO2 inflator, and pump. Basic tools, including a chain tool and spoke wrench. To me, it is only common sense to leave with what you might need to get back.
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Old 01-15-08, 10:50 AM   #21
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Amazing how many people can't fix a flat!
We have ridden Bike Patrol on many event/charity rides (like Ski Patrol, we take care of folks that need help).
Funny but sad story: Female on pricy bike stands by roadside with puncture. She is riding sew ups. Says she has never changed a flat but has a spare innertube. Asked her 'but do you have a spare sewup . . .'; she says 'what's that?'
It's like eating soup with a fork!
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Old 01-15-08, 11:04 AM   #22
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Interesting question - but I imagine that this forum won't give a statistically reliable set of responses

I think that most 50+ folk have learned the hard way to be self reliant - either that or they've learned to hide the times they haven't been!

For myself - yup, I carry and have used when necessary a spare tube or patch kit, over a few decades - and I've offered more tubes or patches than I've used myself. I bet that respondents here saying different would be a very small minority.

One of the very nice things about respondents here is that most like to 'pass it forward'
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Old 01-15-08, 11:05 AM   #23
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I wouldnt ride with someone who can't fix their own flat.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:09 AM   #24
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I can fix a flat and do most roadside repairs. It's part of my strategy to avoid owning a cell phone.
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Old 01-15-08, 11:21 AM   #25
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I wouldnt ride with someone who can't fix their own flat.
Well, I kind of agree, when I'm riding with the keen group here

But I also lead a 'Welcome to all' beginners group, and I think it's part of the leader's responsibility to have some spares to be able to get everyone's bike back home - so on those, I carry mountain bike tubes and road bike tubes and a tool kit, cable ties and gaffer tape, spare power bars and liquids - stuff I probably won't need for my own bike or ride.

So far, anyone who's needed help has turned up next time with what they were provided with previously
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