It’s a beautiful sunny day and you are enjoying a wonderful ride on your bike when all of a sudden something feels strange. The ride seems to be getting rougher and it’s harder to keep the bike moving along smoothly. You look down and realize you have a flat tire. Here are the steps you need to take in order to get the flat changed and continue on with your ride.
In order to change your own flat you need to carry a few small pieces of equipment with you at all times: a spare tube, tire levers, C02 cartridge and inflator or a frame pump.
Open the brake and the quick release (loosening the quick release if it’s the front tire – shifting into the smallest cog in the back if it’s the rear tire) and remove the wheel from the bike.
Take out your tire levers and wedge one in between the tire and the rim of the wheel. Start moving the other lever around the rim of the wheel, pulling one side of the tire off of the wheel.
Remove the tube from the tire. There may be a nut around the valve stem, where you pump the tire. If there is one on there you will need to remove that in order to pull out the punctured tube.
Check the tire to see if there is a large hole or if there is a piece of glass, metal or something still stuck in the tire that caused the flat to begin with. You can look at the tire, but also feel the inside to see if you can feel anything poking through. Sometimes it is a very tiny piece of glass or metal that may have caused the flat. If you don’t check for this and just put another tube in, you may puncture your spare tube immediately, leaving yourself stranded. If there is a hole in the tire, try using a small piece of paper, or a gu wrapper as a patch on the inside of the tire to keep yourself from flatting again.
Take out your new tube and blow a little bit of air into it, giving it a little bit of shape. Then take that tube and put it back on the wheel and inside the tire, starting with inserting the valve stem through the hole in the wheel. Once the tube is in, use your hands to start pulling the tire back onto the rim of the wheel. Sometimes the last little bit of tire is hard to get on. Try putting the wheel against your body and use the leverage of pushing against your body to work the tire back on.
Check to make sure the tube is not twisted or being pinched by the tire. To do this, move the tire back and forth, if you see the inside of the rim and not the tube, this should mean that everything is in there correctly. If the tube was placed incorrectly you can ruin this new tube, so make sure to double check before inflating.
Inflate the new tube, either using a CO2 cartridge or a pump if you have one. **Note: If you inflated your tire with co2, you should drain the tire of CO2 when you get home and re-inflate it with normal air. The CO2 is just a stop gap measure to get you home or to the end of your ride.**
Put your wheel back onto the bike, remembering to close your brake and tighten the quick release.
Get back to enjoying your ride and the beautiful day!