Ten easy steps to help fix your puncture!
Most people think that fixing a puncture takes a long time to do, but it doesn't if you do it day in day out. Mike Norris is the GB Cycling Team's Head mechanic and we caught up with him to get his expert advice on how to make sure you fix a puncture both correctly and quickly. Here's Mike's ten easy steps to make sure you're riding again in no time at all!
1. Remove wheel from bike - not always essential but usually makes it easier. If it's the rear wheel - change gears to get the chain on the smallest sprocket to make it easier to get the wheel out (and back in).
2. Closely inspect the tyre for any evidence of what might have caused the puncture - thorns, slivers of glass, etc. If you see anything that's where the hole in your inner tube will likely be - this will save time later - see section 5.
3. Get out your tool and repair pack (see next month for tips on what you should be carrying!). For this you'll need tyre levers, a spare inner tube and/or puncture repair kit and pump or CO2 inflator.
4. Let any remaining air out and push the tyre beads into the centre well of the rim (the beads are the wire or Kevlar strands running round the tyre which sit inside the rim edge). Starting somewhere near the valve by a spoke (pushing the valve in to keep the tube out of the way) lever one of the beads over the rim with a tyre lever. Hook the lever round the spoke to stop the lever being flicked over the hedge. Work your way round the tyre with the other tyre levers and get one complete bead off - take care not to pinch the inner tube - you already have one puncture, so don't make it worse.
5. Take out the inner tube and inspect the tyre for anything poking through and remove any offending articles. (If you have a spare tube go to step 8....)You may need to repair the puncture on the spot - so you'll need to find the hole in the tube - it helps to inflate it slightly to hear/feel the air escaping. For very small punctures you may need to hold the partially inflated tube underwater (take care if you are canalside or hanging from the pier). Mark the tube with a couple of arrows pointing to the puncture if you can - otherwise keep hold of it.
6. Roughen the area around the hole to remove the release compound and aid the adhesive (a good repair kit should have a small piece of sandpaper) - a thin layer of glue over an area larger than the patch you are going to apply with the puncture in the centre.
7. The glue has to dry to be effective, so when it has apply the patch and push it on firmly. If your repair kit has any chalk, apply some to stop the tube sticking to the tyre - the sandpaper is useful again in this instance.
8. Place the valve through the valve hole in the rim and feed the tube inside the tyre. Pack the tyre levers and other kit away - you'll only need the pump now. Fold the tyre back onto the rim - push the valve in to the tyre to keep the tube out of the way and allow the tyre to fit - taking care not to pinch the inner tube. TOP TIP - ensure the tube is fully deflated and push the tyre beads into the ‘well' in the centre of the rim as you go round, the last bit will then be (fairly) easy. Don't be tempted to use the tyre levers - you will pinch the inner tube and you don't want to be doing this all over again...!
9. Inflate partially and check the tyre bead is seated evenly around the rim - push it into place if necessary.
10. Fully inflate and replace the wheel - you may need to open up the brakes to fit a fully inflated tyre or it may be easier to replace a wheel then fully inflate!
Complete your ride with self-satisfied smug expression.