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  1. #1
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    Fixin flats on the road

    What a hassle this must be. How in the world do you tell where the leak is why touring. I mean if there is no water around you are screwed. Seems it would be easier to carry an extra tube. Almost as cheap also. Local Walmart had patch repair kit for $3.27 seems tubes are as cheap. No brainer for me.

  2. #2
    Senior Member halfspeed's Avatar
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    Extra tube won't help when there's something sharp embedded in the tire. If it punctured one tube, it'll do it to another.

    You need to find the leak, and it really isn't that hard. Put some air in it and listen carefully.

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    I guess but most of the flats I have had I could find the nail or whatever in the tire. I could see where it would be a problem with identifying what was in the rubber though

  4. #4
    You know you want to. Eatadonut's Avatar
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    You'll carry an extra tube only and think it's a great idea until the day you get your second flat on one ride.

    Just pull out the tube, put some air in, it'll be really easy to find the hole if it's big enough to have flatted you on a ride. A patch kit A) is only $3.00 at my LBS and better than what wal-mart carries, and B) will fix like 8 flats, depending on what you get. Right now my little patch kit has 10 small patches, 5 large ones, 2 small tubes of rubber cement (or vulcanizer), and some 400 grit sandpaper. Weighs less than a tube, and I never worry about being stranded due to a flat.
    Weather today: Hot. Humid. Potholes.

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Fixing a flat while touring is the same as fixing a flat while doing any other sorts of riding ... it goes something like this:

    -- Gather the necessary tire changing equipment around you (levers, new tube, pump, patches, boots, new tire, etc.)
    -- Remove the wheel
    -- Release the remaining air in the tire
    -- Remove the tire and tube together
    -- Mark the tire where the valve on the tube is located as a reference point for later
    -- Pull the tube out of the tire
    -- Find the hole (if you've got a puddle or pond, nearby you can use that, or you can just fill the tube and squeeze it while listening/feeling for the hole by placing the tube near your ear and listening for the "sssss" and trying to feel air escaping against your cheek)
    -- Keeping track of the hole, place the tube loosely inside the tire using the reference point you made
    -- Check the tire near the spot where the hole in the tube is for possible bits of broken glass or wires or whatever ... it is preferable to do a visual check first so you don't cut yourself, then you might try cautiously feeling for something. Chances are you will find the culprit. Remove it
    -- Take a look around inside the rest of the tire for any other foreign matter that may cause another flat.

    And I think I do this next part differently than others, but ...
    -- Fill the new tube a bit (or in this learning case, you would use the original tube because it is still OK), and tuck it inside the tire
    -- Put the valve through the hole on the rim
    -- Start tucking in one side of the tire, taking care not to pinch the tube
    -- Start tucking in the other side of the tire, also taking even greater care not to pinch the tube. You may need to let a bit of air out of the tube during this process if it is really tight, and you will likely need to use the levers right near the end to get the last bit in
    -- Check to make sure it all looks even and that there are no pieces of tube sticking out or caught between the rim and the tire.
    -- Pump the tire up to about 6- or 70 psi, and do another check to makes sure it all looks OK
    -- Finish pumping tire, and replace on bicycle.

    And you are done!

    I'd recommend trying all this a time or two at home before you have to try it on the road.


    BTW - I carry BOTH patches and several new tubes on my rides. When I change my tires on the road, I put in new tubes, and then I patch the old tubes when I arrive at my campsite or someplace where I'm going to stop riding for a little while.

  6. #6
    Desert tortise lsits's Avatar
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    Last time I checked, tube repait kits at WAlmart were $0.97. The LBS has kits for $1.99.

    Just last week I had two flats on a ride, and only one tube. I had to do a tube repair. I partially inflated the tube and passed it close to my cheek. I found the hole easily.
    Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then. - Bob Seger

  7. #7
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    While carrying a spare tube is always a good idea, a patch kit is cheaper than a new tube because it will fix more than one flat. I carry a spare tube and a patch kit in case I might get more than one flat.

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    'Mizer Cats are INSANE Mentor58's Avatar
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    I'll toss in my .02 cents worth... make sure that you have the right sized tube with you. Not to mention any names but a few weeks ago somebody did a 50 mile out to the lake, spend the night and back the next day ride. On the way back he started to feel the drag and heard that 'thud thud thud' sound.

    No problem he thought, I've got a spare tube, so I'll just pop out the old one, check for anything inside the tire, pump it back up and be on my merry way. Well... as he pulled the tube from his seat back and took the velcro wrap off to unfold it his first thought was 'My, that tube seems very wide". followed by "and it also seems a bit too small to fit around the rim." Recalling that the last ride was on the MTB bike he quickly deduced that he hadn't changed the tube over when he went out for the weekend ride.

    Luckly that individual also had a patch kit, so no real problem. but it taught me to not just check if there IS a tube in the seat wedge, but what size is it.

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  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mentor58
    I'll toss in my .02 cents worth... make sure that you have the right sized tube with you. Not to mention any names but a few weeks ago somebody did a 50 mile out to the lake, spend the night and back the next day ride. On the way back he started to feel the drag and heard that 'thud thud thud' sound.

    No problem he thought, I've got a spare tube, so I'll just pop out the old one, check for anything inside the tire, pump it back up and be on my merry way. Well... as he pulled the tube from his seat back and took the velcro wrap off to unfold it his first thought was 'My, that tube seems very wide". followed by "and it also seems a bit too small to fit around the rim." Recalling that the last ride was on the MTB bike he quickly deduced that he hadn't changed the tube over when he went out for the weekend ride.

    Luckly that individual also had a patch kit, so no real problem. but it taught me to not just check if there IS a tube in the seat wedge, but what size is it.

    Steve W.
    Who shall remain nameless
    Someone else I know did something similar. She had three operational bicycles at the time with three different tire sizes. Like a good cyclist, she grabbed a spare tube, from her shelf of spare tubes, to tuck into her seatpack before a ride.

    But someone had shelved the tubes incorrectly when she had last purchased them, and a 700x23 tube was among the 27x1.25 tubes ... and she didn't check the box before she left.

    The inevitable happened ... she flatted (in pouring rain, of course) ... and she ended up very slowing easing her way home with a 700x23 tube in her 27x1.25 tire.

    Undaunted, and despite the fact that it was still drizzling out, she changed the tire to the proper tube size once she got home and set off again ... but without a spare tube, because her stock of 27x1.25 tubes had now run out ... figuring that the chances of flatting a second time in one day was pretty slim.

    She ended up walking 8 kms back home in the rain.

    She is now very meticulous about ensuring she has both the correct sized tubes and patches with her on rides!!

    Machka
    Who shall also remain nameless

  10. #10
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
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    I've had 1 flat in the last 2 years. I've given away several tubes on organized rides to people stranded on the side of the road. I carry a patch kit and two tubes. If it's a simple flat where the reason is obvious, in goes a new tube. I haven't had to use a patch kit since I was kid... and that was several decades ago.

    Also, I carry long stem tubes even though my wheels are not aero. Many of the people on the organized rides that have received my tubes have had aero wheels. Long stem will work on non aero wheels, but short stem will not work on aero wheels.

    Az

  11. #11
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    And of course--start out with good tires that are in good shape and you might avoid flats altogether. Somehow I managed to do a six-month tour without a single puncture I did replace the rear tire about four thousand miles into the trip. Kevlar strips can be worth the investment.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  12. #12
    ChainringTattoo
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    yeah--put a bunch of air in the tube and hold it up to your face. Your lips and cheeks (the ones on your face!) are really sensitive, so you can usually find the little bugger without any water around.

  13. #13
    Science Fanboy KrisPistofferson's Avatar
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    If you actually give a **** about being wasteful, it might be a good idea to learn how to patch a tube, if you shop at Walmart, you probably don't, though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Hitchens
    What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.

  14. #14
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    I used the patches you just stick on, for the first time this year. It's faster than unfolding a spare tube and folding the other up, they are also very light and thin.

    My three parts to rapid tube repair are a Quick Stick, if your tires are tight enough to require levers. The aformentioned instant patches, and the Road Morph pump. Painless, pretty much.

    Depends on whether you're the sort who can't program a VCR (or whatever the kids are using these days), or the type who can. I wouldn't practice fixing flats, it's dead easy, and sounds like practicing it would be bad Karma.

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    If you use that old trick of lining up the valve stem with the tire logo, you have a reference point for looking for the hole or the source of the leak: eg, if there's a shard in the tire at "3 o'clock" of the tire, you can narrow your search for the hole in the tube to the same point in the tube.

    To check for the source of a leak in the tire, a cotton ball, run around the inside of the tire, will likely catch the culprit. Lessens the risk of cutting your finger, too.

  16. #16
    Very Senior Member MikeR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by babysaph
    What a hassle this must be. How in the world do you tell where the leak is why touring. I mean if there is no water around you are screwed. Seems it would be easier to carry an extra tube. Almost as cheap also. Local Walmart had patch repair kit for
    I was on a ride with 2 other guys once. (not a tour) The newbe had a flat. The other guy (a dedicated old timer) was helping him. They couldn't find the leak. Next thing I know the old timer runs into the gas station menís room and plunges the tube into the toilet! I thought "now THATíS a bike fanatic!"
    It's better to cycle through life than to drive by it.

  17. #17
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    Kris, Pistedoffff, You seem to be a wise guy. I hope that is not your picture beside your name. If so you need some orthodontic work buddy. LOL. You are right. I don't care about being wasteful. That is for the flower sniffers to worry about. Besides what does asking about changing a flat have to do with being wasteful???

  18. #18
    Coyote!
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    >>> How in the world do you tell where the leak is why touring. I mean if there is no water around you are screwed.

    Imafencer spot-on about the feel of the tiny little air leak on the sensitive skin of one's face. Even at home, I rarely need to do the Baptist Procedure [Total Immersion]. All that wettness just adds one more bedevilment to a process that should go lickety-split. [Old Timer's Hint: Save the wettness for other maneuvers.]

    In fact, most times you can hear the leak. . .a lifetime of rock-induced loss of hearing in my case notwithstanding.

  19. #19
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka
    Fixing a flat while touring is the same as fixing a flat while doing any other sorts of riding ... it goes something like this:

    -- Gather the necessary tire changing equipment around you (levers, new tube, pump, patches, boots, new tire, etc.)
    -- Remove the wheel
    -- Release the remaining air in the tire
    -- Remove the tire and tube together
    -- Mark the tire where the valve on the tube is located as a reference point for later
    -- Pull the tube out of the tire
    -- Find the hole (if you've got a puddle or pond, nearby you can use that, or you can just fill the tube and squeeze it while listening/feeling for the hole by placing the tube near your ear and listening for the "sssss" and trying to feel air escaping against your cheek)
    -- Keeping track of the hole, place the tube loosely inside the tire using the reference point you made
    -- Check the tire near the spot where the hole in the tube is for possible bits of broken glass or wires or whatever ... it is preferable to do a visual check first so you don't cut yourself, then you might try cautiously feeling for something. Chances are you will find the culprit. Remove it
    -- Take a look around inside the rest of the tire for any other foreign matter that may cause another flat.
    Machka,

    Nothing you said above is wrong but I'd add two simple but rather important steps.

    Before you do anything like taking the tire apart, inspect it to see if you can find the source of the puncture. If you find it, DO NOT pull it out (yet)! It will mark where the source of the puncture is. This is very important if you ride where Tribulus terrestris is common. It's always easier to find the puncture if you don't have to go hunting for it

    If, when you are mounting your tires, you put the label on the same side for both tires and align it with the valve stem, you don't have to mark the tire when you remove it. I also write "Drive side" on my tubes with a Sharpie before putting them in the tire and always put the same side to the drive side on front and rear. That way I always have a reference point.

    Also, put the tube up until it is way larger than it would be in the tire. This expands any holes and makes them easier to find. Use your lips to find the leak rather than your cheek. Your lips have far more nerve ending and are much more sensitive. I call it "kissing the tube"

    Finally, I keep a Sharpie mini with me on tour. It comes in handy for marking punctures and for addressing boxes to send home.
    Stuart Black
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  20. #20
    'Mizer Cats are INSANE Mentor58's Avatar
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    One other thing that has gotten me on occassion, make sure that you let the glue dry the full 5 minutes before putting the patch on. It seems like everytime I've cheated that part of the repair, I ended up with a leak there later on. I usually use the time to eat and drink something, that way I'm not looking at my watch going, 'yea, it looks like it's dry enough...' I've had mixed success with the glueless patches, so I'll stick to what I trust.

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  21. #21
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    "Finally, I keep a Sharpie mini with me on tour. It comes in handy for marking punctures and for addressing boxes to send home."

    Great advice on keeping things organized, though when you got onto the sharpie, I started to feel the advice on double wrapping garbage prior to dispossal couldn't be far behind.

    You guys are overthinking this, though that is the beauty of forums. Are there a lot of people getting really badly cut on stuff they find in their tires. I guess I spend enough time with razor sharp and burnny things to not feel I need a flack jacket to investigate the inside of a tire. Get well off the road, other than that don't worry.

    Is there a problem with the new instant patches? The first one I used was in a downpour. I pulled the tube out which was bone dry after a week of cycling in the rain! I found the hole and attached the patch. Why would I want to wait five minutes?

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